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The Champion Rose

June 20, 2012
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Certain things are not apparent to a boy. Certain attributes and skills remain unnoticed by the young man. Daily glances in the mirror hide the progression of time from the aging man, until one day, in that mirror, the reflection he sees is no longer that boy, no, the reflection in that mirror is no longer even that young man. He pauses, reflects, and marvels. Where has the time gone?

Only from experience are certain things apparent. Only from quiet reflection, from deep introspection are certain influences, those forces which have helped shape the man clearly discernible. At least in part, and quite possibly to a large extent, those traits, those special attributes which make the man uniquely him, have been taught and nurtured by the strong women in his life.

Based on this belief, this reflection, and while dwelling on what has been, the words begin to flow. Never able to think, much less write these things while a boy, or even a young man, the thoughts congeal. In dedication to those strong women in his life, these words arrive.

Article Photos

The Champion Rose

Amongst the thorns, amongst the gravel, in a bed of ivy shielding her from the sun, the wild plant grew. She nurtured all those plants around her. She gave her nutrients to the other plants, taking only what she needed to subsist. It was a conscious decision to forego her own development in deference to those plants around her that needed the nourishment, that needed the water, that needed the sun.

For what seemed like an eternity, a lifetime, she gave of herself so all the other plants could flourish. But one May day a warm breeze blew into her life. The warm breeze blew the other plants aside and allowed the sun to shine on the wild plant. In that hour, on that striking day, she pushed her head up above all the other plants to take in the view of all that she had been missing. She saw the light. She felt the warmth.

On that day the wild plant pushed her head above the others and grew. She grew and saw there was an infinite universe out there for her to discover. The other plants were doing just fine. They no longer needed her nurturing, no, they were doing just fine on their own. Day by day she grew taller, pushing more and more of her stem out into the sunshine, gathering the morning dew on her leaves, flourishing, growing, and developing.

On a special day, another of the plants, a newer one who had become her friend, who grew beside her, gathered a clutch of morning dew on her leaves in such a way it became a mirror. In that mirror, the wild plant was able to see herself for the first time. She looked with a critical eye at herself. At first she wondered what she was seeing. "Is that really me," she wondered. The warm breeze she had come to love reassured her. It blew strongly against her face. The sun warmed her stem, her leaves. She smiled and knew.

What the wild plant saw, was the same thing that those who really cared about her, those who watched her flourish, those who didn't demand her nurturing but merely watched in awe as she developed saw. What she saw is that she had become a flower. Her face was aglow in the beauty that grew from within. Her stem was lean and strong. Her leaves were supple and gathered the morning dew. Her head waved in that warm breeze, basked in the glory of all that was deep, all that was nourishing.

What the wild plant in reality was, and what she had developed into was a wild rose. But, this was no ordinary wild rose. Her beauty and strength had developed despite the constraining limits of her environment. While the other plants had developed into ground ivy and thorns, she had set herself above them and become a champion rose, a champion wild rose! No ordinary wild rose one might find in a ditch, no, she had become a beautiful champion wild rose!

Her blossom was brighter, bolder, more supple than any other wild rose; her color unique and striking. Her stem and stalk were stronger than any other wild rose. Those who knew, those who had watched her develop looked in awe at the beautiful flower, because they knew there had never been such a magnificent rose, much less one that had been born of a wild seed flung far from her parent plants by a wild wind. No, never before had such a rose been born of an hour of sunshine, the dampness of the morning dew. Never before has any rose grown as magnificent as this champion wild rose!

Until next time--

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2005 - 2012 Mike Gilchrist.

Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write

to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.



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