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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht

Lasting Fragrance

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

I have just returned to Scotland after a couple of weeks in Canada. Coming back into the city of Edinburgh I am in awe of the lushness of the landscape and trees, and the gentle warmth of this late spring and early summer. Like Canada, Scotland is so beautiful at this time of year, and the shared season along with glorious sunshine brings some continuity in the transition from one country to another.

The other day, whilst in a jet lagged state, I was walking down the street not far from where I often stay while in Edinburgh. I suddenly stopped mid-stride, amazed by the vibrant beauty and scent of colourful roses in a small front garden close to the walkway. Seeing it reminded me of the first blog post I ever wrote, back in 2018, about this same garden. It was November then. Now it is June. The open buds accent the street with a new and uplifting palette noticeably set against the front stone wall of the house.

Now in springtime, this bounty of blooms generously spreads its fragrance which follows every passerby on the street as they walk past.

I decided to go out and revisit them this evening if only to breathe in their scent and process the recent tributes given by people during a moving memorial service held for a friend and former trustee of the charity I work for. I, along with so many others, have been greatly impacted by Paul’s life, friendship and work. The testimonials given were only a small glimpse into well lived years of service, steadiness, and laughter, and they highlighted the immense kindness, peace and humility he emanated wherever he went. He will be greatly missed, but the fragrance of his life lingers and spreads beyond the present season, just like these beautiful blossoms which have stayed with me in memory and through time.

I have not yet put a note through the red door to thank the woman who curates the rosebushes in this garden space, but I think that this time I will.

Near Shady Wall A Rose Once Grew

Near shady wall a rose once grew Budded and blossomed in God's free light, Watered and fed by morning dew Shedding its sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall Slowly rising to loftier height, It came to a crevice in the wall Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength With never a thought of fear of pride, It followed the light through the crevices length And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view Were found the same as they were before, And it lost itself in beauties new Breathing its fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve And make our courage faint or fail, Nay, let us faith and hope receive, The rose still grows beyond the wall Scattering fragrance far and wide, Just as it did in the days of yore Just as it did on the other side Just as it will forever more.

~ A.L. Frink ~


My first blog post, November 2018:

'Back in the 'burgh'

It’s not something I have ever really paid attention to before, but it struck me on my recent walk one morning from flat to studio. Roses - at this time of year?

I noticed the care taken in a front garden up the street - a combination of gentle pastels in contrast, but completely complementary to, the rusts and ochres of autumn.

Maybe my eyes are more open right now….

The fresh blooms certainly add brightness to an otherwise generally ‘grey’ time of year, and echo the current experience of being in a new location in the city for a while. Fresh and new colour. A change. I made my way down from the north at the end of a busy season at Freswick Castle and am welcoming these Edinburgh days.

Change, while tricky, is good overall. It can open our eyes. And this unexpected brightness of bloom is reassuring in the midst of other things falling away. The curator behind the lovely front garden display must have known what he/she was doing.

Roses in November….

It is a gift, certainly to me, and an inspiration. In fact I may drop a note through the red door to say just that!

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