An Apology to Roses

I usually start getting hysterical that autumn is almost here as soon as the lilac blooms over. Yes, the lilac, yes, that’s early May, yes, summer hasn’t even officially started yet, nor has spring actually come into its full rights. But somehow as soon as the lilac season is over I feel that the best of the season is over too, and the hot summer will scorch everything in an instant, and disappear as soon as it came. To be fair, real panic only sets in in June (slightly illogical as well), as soon as the days start to get shorter, but the end of the lilac season used to be a sad milestone.

I said used to be, as, for some years now, as soon as the lilac season was over, I would move on to hoarding peonies, which have almost become my favourite flowers in the meantime. You’re obviously wondering now why didn’t the idiot always just buy peonies and shut up- well, because somehow peonies were never a big deal in Arad. In retrospect, I might have seen them, in vases, at the market, and, very rarely, in gardens. And that’s the point- as a kid growing up in a pretty rural part of town, I was used to the flowers which grew in our front yards and gardens, and the rest was off the radar, even if seasonal.

So it’s taken quite some time to crystallize this fact: there is one type of flower which starts blooming in my hometown right after lilac season, it’s basically everywhere, it blooms in all shades and sizes, so much so that we hardly even notice it. It’s roses. If I start my route from home to the centre of town on foot in late May and early June, I will see dozens of types of roses everywhere, beginning with our very own yard. Yet I have never really taken to roses somehow- I don’t remember ever buying a bunch of roses at the florists, not for myself, not as a gift.

I was always somehow suspicious of them, of those tall, almost perfect roses, often without thorns, always without scent. Android roses without the soul of a real flower, roses that would stay pristine like wax figures for a week, and then bend over and expire overnight, as if a self-destruct sequence had been activated. It has however dawned on me that I was getting involved with the wrong roses.

There are roses growing on crooked porches, and climbing up the exact pole they were not intended too. Roses with undefinable shades, that don’t even exist on pantone palettes. Roses eaten by small bugs, or by larger cats. Roses that grow in ditches, roses arranged in an ideal shape suddenly moving over the edges. Roses that climb on walls and roses that stay close to the ground and collect specks of dirt and filthy rain.

Roses which grow in cemeteries, at the foot of bridges or in front yards, occasionally escaping through the fence onto the street. Roses with small flowers and big thorns, roses with strong scents that travel carelessly in the midday heat. Roses which wilt over alleys and roads, with rusting petals mingling with the water of summer storms. These shots I took around town over the past long weekend are thus my apology to them for having ignored their unconventional roseness for far too long.

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