When we first moved to Bainbridge Island, this bush was a huge and lovely beach rose, covered in white flowers for much of the summer. It sat beside a path that led to the boardwalk, and in the fall and spring was often covered with birds.
But the second year we were here was a particularly bad year for gypsy moths, and they took over the rose bush. My elderly neighbor said spraying it with Formula 409 would kill the moths, so I kept going out there and spraying, but the moths were very prolific and soon the bush had been nibbled down to a nub.
The rosemary bush beside it was of no interest to the gypsy moths, and it continues to thrive (and is now quite large) but I thought we had lost the rose bush altogether; certainly we've had no roses in that spot in years (and it's all become very overgrown with dune grass.)
But yesterday I went out there with my camera, to photograph the boardwalk, which was covered in frost, and I couldn't help but be enchanted by the christmasy contrast of red, white, and green on this bush, which now thrives in the spot where the rosebush once lived. I have no idea what it is -- it might even be a beach rose, for all I know of plants (I am not known for my green thumb) -- but it really is quite lovely, and it occupies the space where the beach roses once bloomed.
I've been reading this morning, in Jack Kornfield's The Wise Heart, about the impermanence of things, and the importance of holding both that awareness (which looks beyond the now) and presence in each moment; of understanding that we are both unique and infinitely connected to all that is; that life is both full and empty at the same time.
And somehow this bush helps me with that: the frost sits so lightly on these leaves, throwing their serrated edges and bright red stems into relief. If it were to sit there for too long, it would surely kill the plant, just as the gypsy moths killed the rose bush it used to be. But the frost has the same ephemeral glow the lovely little white roses once had, and the bush is almost as large as the rosebush once was. Yes, things pass away, but things are also reborn. One kind of beauty dies, and another rises in its place. The gypsy moths come, and then they leave; the frost comes overnight, and then it melts away -- and each moment, even the woven tent of the gypsy moth, has its own beauty to offer.
It's challenging to hold that tension, between now, and past, and what will come. But I continue to try, and am learning to trust, day by day, that each moment -- past, present, and future -- has its own gift to offer.