For our wedding, eight years ago, we were given two Grandiflora peace rose bushes. They almost died the first winter, when we didn't protect them. But after a seemingly miraculous recovery, they have grown very well over the years, producing lots of large roses. They would usually grow almost 6 feet tall every season.
I carefully protected them every winter since that first one. But two winters ago, it was a terribly hard one. Bitter cold and lasting weeks longer than any other winter we've seen here. When the spring came, I saw a tiny shoot start on each rose bush, but then they both quickly withered.
Because of the unexpected revival after that first winter, I watched and hoped for another sign of life. For months I watched. They were our wedding roses, after all, and I'd cared for them for years. But nothing. By fall, I decided I ought to dig up the dead stumps, to clear room in the flowerbed. The roots were so deep and tough, I ended up having to just break off the first one. Then when I came to the second one, I stopped, astonished. There was a little shoot. It was alive.
Of course there was no chance for it to grow then, it was too late in the season. I knew also that there was little chance for it to last until spring. It had lain dormant through one long, hard winter already, then gone a whole season with no growth, no chance to gather strength from the sun, and now another winter was coming. But I covered it carefully anyway, and fertilized it. I'd at least give it the help I could.
But I wasn't very hopeful for that rose bush this spring when I uncovered it. How could it possibly have survived? I kept looking for life, wanting to see it, all the while telling myself that looking didn't make much sense.
Somehow this little saga seems important, like a sign or something. Of what, I'm not sure. But it feels very reassuring and hopeful. And I'm really going to enjoy seeing those beautiful, delicate roses unfolding again.
[p.s. Here's how it looked a few months later]
[p.p.s. And at the end of the next season...]