Roses blooming in June: the key to life’s mysteries

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Photos by Poppy Mookerjee.

NEW YORK – Even in the bitterest of high noon the roses continue to bloom, clamber and weave over the fence.

The incandescent blossoms creep, sparkle and weep, for beauty is its own marvelous reason. They do not ask nor question but spring forth in a thousand bud with all the sorceries of resurrection.

The roses, I believe, hold the key to life’s mysteries.

In the wake of series of heart-wrenching tragedies around the world, a dribble in politics or clichéd themes on the triumph of the human spirit will not cut it for me. No, I need a simpler philosophy, just a sheer escape from this burlesque manifestation of the human world that treads carelessly on the green grass of promise and sacrifice, a hope for a dream.

And so, on a June morning when velvety roses and eglantine have swept the meadows, overtaken abandoned houses in tangles and the pink milkweed are ablaze on the hills, I rest my head upon Pablo Neruda’s humble words, “Green was the silence, wet was the light and the month of June trembled like butterfly.”

The flowers know that death will come in time but, for now, life is sweet. And light has found its way.

And indeed, June is full of light, cascading from the sky to the earth, flirting with the roses, the lilies, the larkspur and the daisies, ripening gossamer dreams and lifting veils from up morning dew.

The wind and the rain scatter the heady perfumes from a thousand buds floating atop the full-throated songs of restless birds.

And the neighbor’s ubiquitous black cat surreptitiously stretches herself on the window ledge.

Everywhere the bumbling bees have found a boozing den within the chalice of lilies while governments beat the drums of rhetoric lulling people into a torpor.

Regardless, the quiet music of the month lulls the blackberry vines into a slow twirl around old fences while forests are juggernauts of green in varying hues and leaps.

Innocence, expression and freedom are in lavish display even when a light downpour nods the rose heads to droop like shy brides.

The rust of winter has yielded itself to wide doors and windows opening to swamps of wild strawberries lurking behind tall grasses. Garden chairs are out and hammocks swung in lazy fancy between trees.

Butterflies and moths, fragile messengers of divination, seem to echo life’s sacred secrets: from the great deep to the great deep do we go.

In the meantime, wrapped in the conspiracies of whys and the wherefores, the firefly lights the cold way and the owl hoots in the distance.

In beloved Kolkata, June reverberates with the dark roar of thunder as monsoon clouds roll in from what it seems God’s own trumpets.  Rain pours down like baby’s laughter on rooftops and humanity’s whirlwind is held in its warm cradle.

It’s a sound that makes tired hearts believe in a gentle mercy from above and momentarily drowns out the unspeakable pain of desperate lives.  The earth unites with the heavens and the choir of angels resound just for a brief moment.

Under window eaves frogs and crickets serenade the flowers in the twinkling rain while daylight fades reluctantly into purplish-blue skies.

But shadows of evanescence hang its head in melancholy over the roses’ splendor. In no time soon, these sweet frills will wither and the wind will carry their petals far out into the invisible eternity.

Under the sun they shone, and by it they shed.  Rose-reds to the dust and pink-tipped swans away to the light. Or maybe, a fleeting gleam of an impossible dream?

Nothing in life ever intended to make an any sense: the rise and fall of empires or our small lives lived out between dawn to dusk. And yet life is in abundance, in lavish generosity more numerous than stars in the sky.

So it is to the eternal evening star, I raise my cup of wine at night. The star, that knows of ancient love’s birth and decay and keeps our secrets in the crimson west.  So I wish upon a lucky star on a lovely June night when the musk-rose is wild in fragrance and the heart is quiet. I pray it finds its light across.

(Poppy Mookerjee is a journalist and a writer for more than a decade with American and Indian publications.)

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