A Rose by Any Name

Strolling a garden, gaining focus

By Hilary Berg

This Father’s Day, my husband, son and I created a new family tradition: Portland’s International Rose Test Garden.

The trip was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Our homebody son, Theo, hesitated only slightly when Chris mentioned Portland, which is a victory at our house — he’d rather be sorting his Pokémon cards or playing his Nintendo Switch — but it was a beautiful day, so it didn’t take too much persuading.

Chris suggested Washington Park at first, but then mentioned the Rose Garden — to be honest, I’d forgotten about the city gem. As we wound our way up the road, I suddenly remembered how magical the place was, especially in full splendor.

Together, we explored the park, smelling blooms and taking note of the names, at first reading as we went — “Rock and Roll,” “Julia Child,” “Roald Dahl,” “Candy Land” — and then by map. My son searched for fun-sounding roses — especially “Popcorn Drifts” — while I sought more sentimental ones.

A few days prior, my aunt Mickey died from a brief battle with cancer. She was in her early 70s.

I grieve alongside her four daughters, loving husband, grandkids and siblings, not to mention her nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and friends. A retired nurse with a gift for quilting and a deep love for her family and church, Mickey’s life was cut too short. Cancer is a tragic disease.

As we strolled through the pathways, I looked for placards with any significance, but none of the names quite sufficed. Not long after my search began, I realized by focusing on names, I was missing the flowers themselves, not fully enjoying their beauty and pleasure.

Then it struck me: Why am I looking for a specific rose to represent her, when no single flower could ever be sufficient?

Actually, I needn’t look any further than her given name: Margaret Rose.

My mom says when my aunt was little, she introduced herself to a neighbor: “My name is Mawgwet Wose, and I like wed, wed woses.”

I definitely like red roses, too, and yellow and pink and white. So many colors, combinations and scents — just ask master sniffer Theo.

Thanks for such a great day, Chris and Theo; and thanks for all the love, Aunt Mickey. 

Life’s too short to be studying the map instead of exploring the path.

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable