Day 23,685: Of Guns & Roses.

Lately, I’m in a rose water phase. It’s not the first time, but it seems to be my most pervasive.  As a child, we would sometimes be treated to a rose water scent, but the times were rare.  Throughout my childhood, our home had roses, centered in a not extremely fragrant but hardy rose bush my mother treasured in our backyard.  It most often served as the backdrop to the pitcher’s mound during rounds of wiffle ball, and if a batter (who didn’t know the field rules) hit one directly at the pitcher and the pitcher wisely ducked, the bush took the hit. That’s when the  batter might take a hit too, and be ejected from the game as my mother could be heard running from afar chastising her troop of rowdy boys and me about the sanctity of that bush.

It strikes me now that perhaps roses were her favorite flower, but in those days we just knew the bush was sacred. It likely reminded her of times in London, where her own mother then and millions of Brits still today lovingly tend their roses. So, perhaps it was really my grandmother’s flower of choice and just something that allowed my mother to reminisce about her own childhood home.

I grew up thinking my mother’s favorite flower was the Carnation – red ones like the best red roses, but far more affordable. Now, I wonder if she just said that to save the family money and steer us away from the far more elaborate roses.

My own first home in New Milford, NJ, was bordered by the most magnificent Rhododendrons, which should be the state flower as they grow so well in so many colors throughout the state. I remember after selling the house feeling deeply wounded when the next owner chopped our 100+ year old bushes into half size.

My oldest brother, with hugh Rhododendrons in front of his NJ house, became equally skilled at growing magnificent Hydrangeas by the side path to his back door. Sadly, as partial as I was to the Rhoddies, I have to admit the Hydrangeas had a far more intoxicating scent.

And then I discovered Geraniums. They are my flower of choice at my current house as they grow in pots and also give off a wonderful scent. But like my mother before me, I suspect I’m partial to them because they are hardy, affordable, colorful and can be brought indoors to hibernate and regrow the following summer. They are practical. This is the first time in four years that I allowed my Geraniums to die in the outside frost and will have to reinvest in new ones come spring.

Now, in my new upgrading to better products phase, I seem to once again be getting rose water everything from Cactus Rose Shampoo and Conditioner by Caroline’s Daughter to Rose Toner from Trader Joe’s.  I opened the top to the Caroline’s Daughter product and the scent blew me away. Of course, I also liked the fact it was paraben and sulfate free, but the scent took me right back to my childhood, and made me pull out my wallet even though I had more than enough other quality shampoos and conditioners already at home.

If you had asked me a month or year ago, I might have said Lilac was my favorite bloom. The two Lilac bushes – third base during wiffle ball – were also treasured trees in my mother’s garden and were far more fragrant that the stubby rose bush. As a teenager, my one daughter was always partial to lavender and honeysuckle scents, with lavender candles gracing her lavender colored room.  And the other daughter tended toward cherry blossoms. They’ve now moved on to more mature scents and branded perfumes.

Native Americans have often talked of spirit animals, but I never hear talk of spirit flowers. I think we should, and not just for aromatherapy.  Although the human sense of smell is considered paltry compared to man’s best friend and almost every other animal, it is still considered one of our strongest senses – bringing affiliated memories and places immediately to mind. Perhaps one can have more than one spirit flower or different spirit flowers for different times of life.  If that’s so – then I’m reclaiming Roses for my Crone years and relegating Lilac back to my earlier self.

Staying Focused on Gun Sanity: Here it is – the organization most like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). It’s called… MomsDemandAction.org. Check out the site video Moms 101. Go Moms!