Cut the roses, use the china.

Cut the roses, use the china.

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.—Robert Brault  

Spring and summer in Baltimore are glorious. Of course the return to warmer weather is always welcome in any town. But here, further south it comes early and in full bloom. I planted a gorgeous, deep pink climbing rose bush three years ago at the end of our front walk, and this season, she outdid herself with a spectacular display of heady and fragrant blossoms. As did the white peony we inherited with the house.

I stopped each day to admire the blooms, burying my nose in the delectable scent as Miles and I returned from our morning walk. He patiently trots beside me to the backyard so I could enjoy the peony bush just over the hill, and the lush stalks of the front gardens, leash dragging beside him.

One morning I decided to radically alter my style of flower gazing–I would CUT the blooms and bring them inside–to appreciate them anew at my dining room table. This may not seem so bold an act to other gardeners, but I’ve always hemmed and hawed about cutting my flowers, preferring them to last longer on the vine.


I embraced the gift of immediate pleasure by clipping and styling these beauties, inhaling their ambrosial aroma. The fleeting nature of the cut blooms challenging my reluctance to acknowledge that all life is fragile. A fact all too clear with the death of our dear sister-in-law Lana scant months ago and my parents decades before.

As I arranged the stems, I pondered my own destiny. Not deep, navel-gazing introspection, more a subtle consideration of the future. Multiple seers have assured me my life line is long and I will be quite old when I pass. But what if I don’t make it past 62 or 69 or 70? All those blooms would go to waste that could have graced our table for us to enjoy. As would Mom’s coveted tea set gathering dust in the china cabinet that could have brought me tender joy communing with her through her fragile porcelain.

I remembered my conversation with Mom during the last weeks of the cancer that took her from us 23 years ago. “Torry, don’t wait to live fully. Life is short and you should enjoy as much of it as you can. Your boys will grow up, loved ones will pass, and your jobs will come and go. But you have today. Find your joy.”

So, then and there, I took out the dishes filling them with my favorite butterscotch carmel bliss coffee and homemade lemon wafers. With deliberate sips and tiny bites, I savored the brew and sweet treats, appreciating the lovely scents of my floral cuttings. I’m certain Mom was with me, nodding her approval with her beautiful smile.

Like Mom advised, cut your roses and use your china. It’s a gift you will never regret.

6 Responses »

  1. Your ability to savor the small things on life and embrace everything with gusto is on of many reasons I love you. Your Mom would be so full of joy and pride seeing you live her words

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