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Rosie Lessons Learned in the Wild

I love this time of year when the wild roses are blooming. The bloom time is short, so I make sure to visit them often to take in their fragrance and beauty. I love the way, on a sunny day, I can smell the wild roses in the air before I get to the spot where I can see their simple pink blooms.

Pink wild rose in full bloom on the rose bush on a sunny day in June.

Harvesting wild plants is a sensory experience. Every plant offers something unique. Some flowers stain my skin. Some plants are low to the ground, causing a small amount of discomfort during the harvest. There are leaves which are soft and fuzzy to the touch. Others have poky thorns and I have to harvest in my jeans and jean jacket, no matter how stifling the heat may be. Some flowers have no detectable odor at all, others are pungent, and there are those whose scent is spellbinding. Accompanying spectacular fragrance, are chemical compounds that can contain the plant's medicine and which drift about in the air. Of all the special bits I harvest, it is the wild roses that have the greatest impact on my mind and spirit. Rosie lessons learned in the wild mean everything to me.

It seems that with every passing year, what the wild roses have to tell and teach goes deeper. Every spring, just before we transition to summer, I get to learn something new. I am not sure whether these lessons are based on the properties of the roses, on my current state of being, or an interaction together. And so I am not clear on whether these teachings are transferrable to others as The Stories of Wild Roses, or if what I absorb is specific only to me. I do know that I take these lessons in very deep and work with what is novel to me. I attempt to spend the rest of the year applying what I gained. Then in each coming year, I get to layer on the latest addition. This is really quite wonderful. Fantastical osmosis.

A jar full of wild rose petals infusing home made apple cider vinegar. Mason jar on a white metal lattice work table on a blue porch with  a white wooden railing. Bushes and trees in background.

Two years ago, the lessons were all about acknowledging and letting go of the stress and burdens I was carrying around daily and holding tightly in my body. Last year, the roses counseled me to move further into myself rather than moving further away. Reflecting back, I am rather surprised to find out that this has been the keynote of my year. What began as a conscious decision, rapidly became a reflexive sort of response to everything. This internal moving direction became my same-old process and has happily led me to a much better place than where I was a year ago.

Woman with blue eyes, long brown hair and no makeup, smiling. In front of wild rose buses where she is harvesting wild rose petals to make skin care products.

Here I am, this year. Right now. I have been loving the new guidance coming at me and flowing into me while I pick these sweet blooms. There are several themes at play this year. These pretty flowers have healthy boundaries. While the roses have not been teaching me how to create or refine boundaries (I already have a healthy set of those lol), they have been reminding me that they unfurl into the soft, pink, petals, beautifully fragrant, because their thorns keep them safe at the outset. Living out more of my softest qualities is something I have aspired to in 2022. This input from the roses about how important my boundaries are to this process is welcome information.

Red stem of wild roses, with emphasis on thorn.

On my vision board that I created in early January is the text: “spiritually awake”. What is spirituality? Yes, that would be a huge essay that I certainly have no business trying to define for anyone other than me. I haven’t been seeking even to characterize the meaning for myself. Rather, I have been focusing on knowing the feelings that accompany this wakefulness, and on bringing more of this sensation into my everyday. This week, the wild roses have in actuality been explaining to me just what my spiritual life refers to at the moment. “Yes”, the roses tell me, “you feel buoyant right now while you are out of doors, reveling in solitude and being alone in your thoughts, listening to bird song and gazing on my lovely pink. Yes, it is easy to feel great and content right now. This is a beautiful moment, take it in. Then go home and enter into all the chaos, all the various emotions belonging to your people. Work hard on the mundane, ordinary tasks. Take some of what you feel right now with you as you go into those moments. Being with plants is the main way for you. This is your way into your spirit, into identifying when your spirit is awake. But to stay spiritually awake, you have to be there in the other moments, too. The ugliest moments are essential. Equally as important as the most beautiful times with your family. A spiritual life is not the easy life. A spiritual life is a real life.”

Stack of organic and natural soap with wild rose bud embellishing the surface of the soap bars by Slow Botanicals.

My third lesson came on the third day of harvesting. I felt motivated to begin picking in the middle section of the rose bushes rather than efficiently at one end of the row, harvesting my way along in order. I knew this was no idle choice. Loud and clear I heard that I need to institute less routine in my way of living. Less control. To be more free flowing. (Which made me wonder if perhaps wild roses are not good medicine for those who desperately need to introduce structure and routine into their lives?! What plant helps facilitate routine…and getting a little uptight?!) I've never been much of a floater and what I was hearing is that I need to do let go and do just this. Yes, this is the grandest wisdom of this wild rose season. Scary? A bit. But this idea also makes me feel more expansive. And makes me wonder. What will this look like in action? Where will this lead me? I am up to finding out. I will let you know next June.

Freshly poured jars of Slow Botanicals Floral Day Cream. Pink rose petals are on the surface of each day cream. 8 jars of rose cream.

Have a lovely week,


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