Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rambler Rose

When I named this blog "Ramblings with Lois", I had two images in my mind. One was a place to share the wayward and spiritual wanderings of my mind, and the physical meanderings of my life.

The other was more concrete. I was remembering the rambler rose, and not just any rambler rose, a specific one.

When I was a middle schooler in Basking Ridge New Jersey, we lived in an old farmhouse outside the town, with a big backyard that blended into the fields and woods behind us and the apple orchard on one side of us. Toward the end of our property line to the back, there was a stone wall that marked my father's garden. Behind that, there was another fence of rails, and against that fence grew a huge rambler rose - a fence in itself.

Inside the rose fence was an open space, large enough for me to crawl into. When we were children we were constantly making or declaring certain areas to be our private forts. I made this space inside the rambler rose my fort. Here I kept my treasures.

My brother and I grew zinnias in one part of our father's garden, to attract butterflies. In the rose fort I kept my collection of pinned butterflies. I also kept my experiments here.

I don't know when or how I learned to do this, but I discovered that if you put a cotton ball saturated with ammonia in a jar, and dropped a flower in the jar, the flower would change color. But not all flowers.

Pansies and violets would change color. Zinnias would not. Butterfly wings didn't change, either. For reasons passing understanding, I remember that fort and my flower experiments often. I don't pretent to understand why this memory persists, or why it came back to me at the very moment I was asked by my church's webmaster to start a blog, but the blog is called Ramblings with Lois, in part, because my mind went back to my past and picked a rambler rose and brought it forward into the present, hopefully new and fresh.

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