|White on white, hard to capture: iceberg roses|
Years ago, when I was in high school in Innsbruck, my good friend L. used to give me the last roses from her mother's garden. It was an annual ritual I looked forward to, always reserved for the end of October. Unlike mine, L.'s roses came in colors - red, yellow, a washed out orange. Their stems were often scraggly, the leaves a little smaller than they might have been two months before, at the height of summer.
The memory of the recurring gift includes that of the giver: L.'s green eyes, quick and sharp, the big yet humble smile as she passes the bouquet, three or four flowers, thorny, wrapped in aluminum foil and a damp paper towel.
L. was the smartest in our class, an honor student through all grades. After graduation she enrolled in vocational school, to be trained as a teacher. For a while she taught the little ones. She married young, had three children of her own and never left the village she and her husband are from. Different from mine, L.'s life seems to move along one big arch but that's because I see it from afar. From a distance the many stop and goes, the interruptions and turmoil that are part of every life are not visible.
As I look at the Icebergs my teenage daughter crosses the room, and I know: the roses in our yard will be back by Easter, their stems as strong as ever, leaves large and green, the first bloom more beautiful than any, a promise of fullness, of summer.