The picture above was within view a recent morning at breakfast. We eat our meals in our sunroom; Kitty and I each have a different view of her flower garden, and what now are its sad remnants, from our seats. I see our angel which was surrounded by delphiniums, bellflowers, impatiens, dianthus, coral bells, and a lovely new find this year, angel faces. They are now all gone. Beside the angel we would soon to stash away from the cold weather, is a rock and this rose was growing next to it, a last testimony to the power of beauty and growth before the sleep of winter.
I took the picture and showed it to Kitty. She reminded me that I should pair it with a poem I wrote over thirty years ago after beholding such a scene beside our parsonage in Warren, Ohio. I rummaged through some files and found it (there are advantages to never throwing anything away!). So from the pastor's letter in the Howland United Methodist Church newsletter of November 1987, here it is for you, beloved.
A single rose is blooming near the wall.
The chilling air begins to furl its leaves,
yet velvet petals cling, refuse to fall.
Seasons’ changes steal quietly as thieves.
Soon frost will crust the flower's blooming face;
and then the naked stem alone will show
above the barren, windswept resting place
where life will hibernate beneath the snow.
Changes: living, fading, dying – God's wrought
a splendid way for life to come again;
which my November rose has wisely taught
by golden glory's dimming last amen.
I understand, yet fear this change, and cry:
"O beautiful November rose, don't die!"
Faithfully, with love, Pastor Tom+