Sometimes, the most beautiful gifts are not readily apparent. I spent a few hours in my back yard yesterday pruning back the pink tea rose bush and was reminded this morning when I got up because my hands are stiff and sore from the many pricks I received, despite wearing gloves.
The first spring in this house, I found a slip of a rose bush growing next to an old fence line that bordered my postage stamp lot. It had no blooms and was choked by weeds and tall grass. After careful weeding and some rose food, the little slip began to grow. I waited patiently for two years, nursing it diligently as the slip became a bush, but still no roses.
Finally, on the third year, the bush began to bloom. It is now in its twenty-fourth year and has gone through several prunings, been cut in half by a mean neighbor on the other side of the fence and has survived severe freezes and droughts.
Today, as I look out my bedroom window, I see a barren shrub, but I look forward to the roses that will open again in early June and I think of how lucky I was to have found it and how grateful I am for a gift that returns each year.