We went back to the Rosey Tree, whose pinkness is so ample, so sumptuous, so bosomy, she cannot help but be an ancient creature. “Oh, look how few branches are blooming,” my friend Liz said as we took out our cameras. “She was full last year!” I knew Liz was right, but I didn’t want to agree. I want my Rosey Tree to be ok. “The winter was really hard on her. Maybe the buds froze,” I say.
In past years, Rosey Tree overwhelmed me. Enumerating even the tiniest twigs, bubbles of petals dangled like ripe cherries, unfolding into clustered bouquets like perfect, tiny cabbage roses. Engulfed in their profuse re-iteration, my emotions would careen between panic and delight. Even as I surrendered my heart to the hope that Rosey Tree herself would somehow transcend my clumsy camera work, my thoughts would rush forward to anticipate the inadequate pictures I was making. I never even noticed the scent of her blossoms. Rosey Tree’s flowers have a delicate fragrance, like dainty gift soap, or honeysuckle.
This year seems to me to be Rosey Tree’s finest. Her branches sparsely decorated, her blooms more widely opened than I remember – she is exuberant, not rampant. That she had something, anything to give this year – after the brutal cold could have stripped her of every tender node – has only made her lovelier. At last, I felt I could get close to her – close enough to recognize her scent, to find the form of her branches and to experience her endurance. I found a sense she welcomed me, and I was happy to find myself in her home, once more.