I buried the roses in a small knoll between two cedar trees, a place I've never been before. As my rusty shovel cut the ground, I became suddenly aware of how integral the earth really is, how the entire surface of our planet is alive and together. To my left, songbirds were singing the first choruses of spring, slightly hesitant voices that bring thousands of memories swimming to the surface of my mind. Then the worry would ease from my face, and a smile would play at my lips, and I would feel the rhythm of the world. The hole complete, I laid my flowers carefully in the exact centre, moving earth and roots aside with methodical care. The thorns pierced my skin several times, but this too was somehow welcome, real. As I filled in the hole, I was reminded how I love the feel of fresh soil in my palm, the simple vibrancy of it. I have not worked in gardens since my early childhood, but the delight of dirt has not faded from me. I was glad somehow, as if secretly worried my life at the keyboard had suppressed some wilder part of me. Standing, I looked down on the grave, surprised how natural it already looked. Soon the march rains will fall in beautiful torrents, and the surface disturbance will heal over, disappearing without a trace. I walked home feeling strangely relieved, as through free of a costume that was never really mine. It's amazing how we can trivialise ourselves in pursuit of misplaced or imagined dreams, forgetting in our flight that the greatest dream of all is now, that the real name for eternity is today. We would live our lives in the shadows of truth, unaware of the sacrifice involved. To me, the rose represents all that is wrong with our culture, our desperate views of "classical" romance, our lies and our loneliness. Infatuation and fascination have replaced more ethereal forms of affection, and love is made a spectacle, a commodity to posses and nurture and covet. But love is not to be won or lost, and the popular symbols of love strike me almost as the church merchants angered Christ. Yet I shield my anger from others, afraid that in their confusion they would call me bitter, jaded, arrogant. In this world, my view is seldom that of the majority. I must hold onto myself, and remember the daylight streaming through the trees as I knelt upon the moss and laid to rest my tragedy. I must remember the painful pride I feel, and the joy that is life, and the love that is everywhere. Should I forget, my life will become clouded with misery and desire, and I will stumble from the path I have chosen, into a world of twilight and dishonour. So I write this to remember, and take my lesson with upturned face, eyes bright with tears upon the first rays of morning.

jlm 3-11-98