As I walk out to check my roses in the morning, I take along a small clipper to cut the withering blossoms, which encourages the bush to produce more buds. Although I love to visit my roses, cutting the old blossoms is not a job I relish.
I tell my wife, "It's just not like me to discard a beautiful living thing just because its beauty is fading." Nancy just smiles and shakes her head.
Hiding the small cutter behind my back, I approach my favorite pink rose. She blossoms daily and produces buds packed together as tightly as kittens nursing. I position my nose and inhale. Sweet!
But a former beauty sags, her petals starting to fall. Gently, I gather the old blossom in my hand and snip it off below my fingers. I repeat the process on other fading blossoms until I have a handful of petals, which I discard into the nearby tall grass. "Rest in Peace," I say as I scatter the soft remnants.
I walk two steps to see that my small yellow rose has no blossoms. "What happened to you? Yesterday you had a beautiful new blossom."
A bit puzzled, I take a step toward the red rose, which was loaded with blossoms yesterday, but today only the tops of cut stems look up at me. Not a blossom adorns the knee-high stems and no petals are on the ground. What could've happened??
I rush inside to share the news with my wife, who looks out the window to confirm my discovery. "Maybe a deer ate the blossoms," she offers. "I know they eat other flowers."
Maybe the rose petals were sacrificed for a better purpose. What do you think?
Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson