a rose is a rose is a rose

american pillar.JPG

This past week, I finished the final proofs of Euclid’s Orchard and now it’s gone to the printer. Publisher Mona Fertig is so diligent, asking about tiny details that I’d overlooked, questioning dates on photographs, spacing. It’s a book of essays and each essay tries something different so there’s no standard format. Individual essays use epigraphs as starting points, or conversational ploys, or simply homages. Sometimes they need to be part of the actual text and sometimes set off more formally. Mona’s questions helped me clarify my own intentions. Some essays have endnotes, though the work is anything but scholarly. I wanted to remove too much extraneous material from the actual text but of course I also want to cite sources and identify the various voices that enter to speak at various points.

Today I’ve been watering and doing other chores with the thought of the book in my mind. Standing on the west deck just now, I looked at the beautiful old “American Pillar” rose that is pondered and finally identified in an essay called “Ballast”. It’s not the rose mentioned in this brief passage but it might as well have been. It can be found in settings just like this one.

In the woods between Elk Lake and Beaver Lake, I remember an abandoned house completely knitted into place by honeysuckle and roses. Knitted into my memory by roses of a kind I’ve never seen since, apple-scented, white, and humming with bees. On my black horse, I approached with the sense that here was an ancient fairy tale hidden in the woods. Which were not wild exactly but remnant—a few forgotten apple trees, pruned by deer, beaked hazelnut, even laburnum. I entered the tale, as a girl will, with a sense of wonder and expectation. I tied my horse to a tree and tried to peer in the window…

–from “Ballast”

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