Just in time for a perfect bloom

Would we see the first flower on our Ruby Wedding rose?

Not that the week gone by was hard, but I thought, and felt, that I’d put in a fair amount of physical effort. So we were looking forward to a couple of days quietly tending the potted plants in the New Galloway garden. But had there been sufficient rainfall to keep them alive?

The rose blossom was so heavy and fulsome that the new stem was bent horizontal. Safely propped behind a handy stick, in the early evening sunlight, the bloom seemed like an augury of our future. These days, we often feel we’ve bloomed and gone over, as a stick or two might be required to help us stand up or get about. But perhaps there’s still a blush of life in the old folks yet!

The resting times, however, are more and more frequent, and necessary. Sometimes we marvel at our fortitude of only a decade ago: how did we manage to do that?! Thinking along that track, I’d probably turn Damien Hurst’s shark into a different title: The physical impossibility of youth in the body of an old person. With a goldfish darting away from the predatory teeth. Then again, there are different ways to be vibrant, and they’re not all merely vicarious.

Now that the ageing hot tub is holding fresh, clean water again, we joke to ourselves that we’ll need a hoist to lift us up into the steaming ambience of a long, dusky summer evening. As long as we’re careful, however, we should still be able to indulge our aching limbs in a good soak without recourse to extra assistance. Getting out is another matter, but maybe with the aquatic respite, we’ll feel a little more limber.

Musing on the topic of ageing, I sense that there’s a lot of ‘on the one hand, this slowing down, but on the other hand, this remaining capacity.’ Looked at from one way, the glass is emptying, but from another, consider how much is left yet to drink, how good it tastes.

Like the opportunity to catch the special rose, in its full blossom. How much more might this vision of loveliness be appreciated, now, than when we were younger and busier, and rushing about getting on with things? The joy of time for contemplation, for the recognition of a fulsome flower, is one of the rewards which we might reckon we’ve earned. Or, more prosaically, have been fortunate enough to survive to see.


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