Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Rose Bloomed in Winter

I had every intention to write this post a few months ago, but life had other things calling for my attention. I now see a few signs that Spring is certainly going to arrive, but in the midst of the bleak gray that is Winter, my mood was as gloomy as the partly cloudy sky.

Precisely, it was New Year's Day, January 1, 2011. While contemplating the mid-winter depression that I was dancing with, I decided to clean up some of the yard's debris. Anyone who has experienced the dinge of Winter's leavings, can call to mind what it looks and feels like. Nearly all of the plants, tress and shrubs are dormant, leaves and fir needles piled in the unkempt beds that at one time burst with color. The patina is sooty, after the novelty of the first snow has worn away, leaving visible decay.

In short, not an uplifting experience or sight.

I almost missed it.

I had been sweeping the brick patio towards the oft-neglected back of the house when I saw it. I took three steps away, turned around and looked carefully. I swear to you, that I as soon as I acknowledged it, the sun burst through that overcast sky!

There was one, perfect, beautiful red rose standing straight and tall, gleaming in the winter's waning light. Such an exquisite tender rose, showing the glow of blues, pinks, oranges and fiery red all at the same time!

Mimi's Red Rose in Winter
The Universe acts in mysterious ways, Dear Reader.

I was so taken aback by this gorgeous, stately, regal rose! The rose somehow managed to bloom and thrive during one of the worst winters in history. While everything around it lay dormant and encased in ice, this beauty elegantly reached for the sky.

I had long before given up on this particular rose. It showed a miserly bloom in late spring of 2010, only to wither and appear to be dead.

I wrote a status update on Facebook as to what I found in my garden that New Year's Day. I received a response that made my heart sing!

It seems that my childhood friends, the McDonald girls, sadly,  had lost their precious Mother, Margaret, just around the time my lone red rose decided to demand my attention on that dreary day in solid winter.

Apparently, Mrs. McDonald (which is how I always referred to her) had confided shortly before her passing that if there was an 'afterlife', that she would return as a red rose.

Mimi's Red Rose in Winter
My innocent post about finding that solitary rose uplifted people!

Margaret McDonald, whom I met while I was attending the second grade, was an extraordinary woman. She was a positive, encouraging force of nature. Words fail me as I attempt to describe her in the confined context of this writing.

I admired her.

Mrs. McDonald was a lot like that strong red rose - thriving under adverse circumstances, beautiful, quiet, yet commanding by example, diminutive, but elegant in her reach. A positive and contemporary thinker, Mrs. McDonald possessed solid knowledge and life experience, but seemed never dissuaded when the world appeared to be in chaos.

To the contrary, Mrs. McDonald was always optimistic. Her optimism was infectious and had a profound effect this on the young girl that I once was.

Margaret McDonald was a beacon for all of us who had the privilege of knowing her. We were better in her presence. We were better people for knowing her. The world was a brighter place because of her radiance.

Like the beautiful rose, Mrs. McDonald reflected upon us her glow, strength and beauty. She lifted us up.

Mimi's Red Rose in Winter
We must share the ordinary beauty that we find along our life paths. That ordinary beauty may just be an extraordinary miracle that changes everything.

Afternote: Margaret "Mimi" McDonald's rose is still blooming, commanding the very attention of the sun in my back yard.

This Post is Dedicated to Margaret McDonald 
Written with the kind permission of the McDonald Family.

With so much Love, Truth and Beauty........

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