Too many Roses

rose-1My house and Dojo is filled with the fragrance of roses. Just outside the kitchen window stands an old rose bush, meters high and in full blossom. I only have to open the window to enjoy the view and let the odour in. The rose survived last years pre-mature spring (with a second blossom in autumn), this winter’s most severe frost (which destroyed my bamboo and maple tree), and even a lightning stroke a few weeks ago. In size and beauty it easily matches those examples I appreciate so much in the courtyards of some old Oxford colleges.

Until yesterday. My neighbours cut the rose down and dug the roots out, they said it was “too large”, the falling petals were producing “too much of a mess” and the whole appearance was “too disorderly”. Very sad, I collected some blossoms from the ground and put them in a bamboo vase I produced last week from a rod left over after making a Shakuhachi.

This unreasonable act of destruction reminds me of an episode with the tea master Sen no Rikyu, who once destroyed all morning glories in his garden just to display one single blossom during a tea ceremony with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. I must admit, I never much liked this tale … though we can maybe learn from it that “too much” of something is always at risk.

I guess it is time to leave this place for good …

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