On Tuesday I cut a rose from a bush suffering under the high heat of noon. You’re supposed to clip roses during the cool, early morning, but there is nothing cool about September in southern California. It was hot enough, firmly triple digits, that by all accounts I did the anemic rose a favor.
The favor, if it’s possible to grant one to an object without a central nervous system, was a side effect of my selfishness. I went out into the heat not to save the rose from burning, but because I couldn’t bear to be in that kitchen, standing over that sink, washing those dishes, with that soap I should have never bought, one more minute without going insane. My eyes needed to rest upon on something worth watching.
There are days when monotony soothes and routine feels like the gentle, rhythmic pat you give a newborn drowsy with milk. On other days the sameness of it all flexes strong up your spine and settles languidly around your neck. You can go for days before you realize you’re choking.
It’s the same whether you are staring at a pile of dishes or a looming deadline at work. What is simple becomes impossible. Too much.
I held the rose tightly as I snipped the stem to fit my small vase . Only when I opened my hand to drop the it into water did I notice the thorns. The rose dangled from the pads of my fingers. I shook it loose onto the counter.
By Thursday the rose opened, a gently scented chalice ready to hold thoughts that don’t belong. I worked through the bowls and plates, past the glasses and utensils, until the sink once again reflected clean. Only then did I notice the three tiniest of spiders weaving in and out of petals. There is a world within a world outside your own when you take the time to look. One spider moved fast across a faded, burned section of rose, back and forth, back and forth, caught in its own routine. I thought it was a good choice. The imperfect spots are the most interesting; they must make an exciting road to travel for spiders.
Would that we could all think like spiders.