MARTI HEALY: Roses at my door and other strangers

  • Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:23 p.m.

There are roses growing around my front door. Blood-red and thick-leaved, they've crept up behind the shutters and now drape like silk-clad ladies resting on the wrought-iron porch railing.

They've also emerged throughout this entire plant bed at unexpected intervals. Arching across other, less determined rosebushes, they point with open arms in all directions, performing a sort of clandestine dance of color and secret celebration.

I never planted these roses. I'd never even glimpsed their existence until this spring when they suddenly appeared with happy profusion. A mystery of delightful consequences.

It's been ten years since anyone else has lived in this house. And roses were not a part of their planting scheme. So latent roots do not seem likely. And these strange, stray newcomers are deep dark wine in color – completely unlike the pale pastel yellows and pinks of the roses that I planted in this space a few years back.

I've asked expert and amateur gardeners alike about this phenomenon; groundskeepers and observers, naturalists and super-naturalists, and no one has yet had a definitive answer.

Some speculate along the lines of natural selection. One offered the potential of a gift from the next dimension – my mother's spirit, perhaps ... or the ghosts of gardeners past. I rather like this option best, and have moved it to the top of the list of possibilities.

And then, just this past weekend, I hosted in my home two people I had never met before – friends of friends visiting Aiken for the first time. Friends of friends who came to me as strangers and left me gifts of themselves, creating new memories for me along the way.

It reminded me, too, of the recent stranger at my door now known as “Indy,” my latest mixed-breed dog – or Tuppence the cat before him, or dogs Sophie or Teddy before them both, and all those who came even earlier – all those loves of my life who entered it unannounced, unexpected, and unexplained.

I rather like the mysteries of life, I think. The newcomers that reinvent and reenergize my life and my view of it. The surprises awaiting just around the corner or just beneath the soil. I suspect we all are better for the gifts of unexpected beauty that chance to enter our lives ... the unpredicted opportunities ... the unanticipated blessings ... the unexplained delights, both great and small ... the unexplained mystery of roses at our front doors.

Marti Healy is a local writer, author of the books “The God-Dog Connection,” “The Rhythm of Selby,” “The Secret Child,” and a collection of her columns: “Yes, Barbara, There is an Aiken.”

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