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Lately I’ve been playing with roses, photographing them at different stages in bloom, at different times of day, against varied backgrounds, just to see what I could capture.

I love this first one, the delicate color, the fat soft petals, open, exposed,  framing the center. The way the gentle light catches the edges of the petals and swirl in toward the center where the deeper shadows lie. 

The eye moves from the edges spiraling ever inward, round and round toward the tight bud.   This is where the eye rests, at that center, probing the inner depths, where the spiralling continues past where we can see. 

The spiral is a symbol of infinity, an inward eternal flowing.  Water spirals, wind spirals, dancers spiral, galaxies spiral. Thought spirals round and round, ever inward, toward a place past knowing.

This next one stops my heart, I don’t know why. 

The color is so tender, the center so closed, the outer petals so utterly open, leaving the center defenceless.  There’s a feeling of vulnerability, a careless disclosing, an utterly unstudied becoming.

Here it is again from a different angle.  See the way the light flows upward through the petals?  It breaks my heart. 

And the one below . . . I have no words.Now we go outside to where I pluck the roses from the only bush that has survived the deer and gophers.  It’s a tall, gangly bush that grows outside our bathroom window where we see it every morning, watching the roses burst and bloom from one stage to another. 

I cut only the ones that grow below and above where we can see and bring them into our home–orphans, offerings, honored guests, gracious gifts.

This first one is stunning.  The contrast between the deep rose and deeper blue.  I’m thinking flags flying, sails billowing, kites dancing across the sky. 

Hotdogs? Baseball? Blasting trumpets?  There’s something heroic, cheering, utterly wholesome and deeply comforting about this photo. 

That shade of blue in contrast with bright colors heralds all our summers, all our bright hopes, all our pride and enduring optimism.  Endless summer.  It lives like a flame in our hearts, in the faces of laughing children, in the roar of jets, in  fireworks bursting against a twilit sky. 

This deep blue sky is the background for all our hopes and dreams and unites us wherever we live in the world.  The whole rounded globe is cupped in this blue.

The next is especially sweet and hopeful.  The way the light shines through it conveys a sense of innocence, purity.  There’s a freshness here.  You can almost smell the sweetness.

The following seems more serene, mature, even though it is the same rose against the same sky, but the light is different,  There’s an intensity here, a romantic allure.  I’m thinking candlelit dinner, silk stockings, love letters strewn on a bed.

The one below is pure happiness.   I can only smile and smile.

What more can I say?

The following photos evoke something else.  The rose and the clouds seem to drift across the sky, lightly as feathers. 

 We sense movement here, of passing time, fleeting moments.  

There’s a dreamlike quality with the soft focus, the soft petals, soft as the clouds they float upon.

I’m thinking of a rowboat rocking gently on a pond, fingers trailing in the cool water, eyes gazing at the sky above, clouds gentle as a breeze gazing downward, stroking soft skin.No we go indoors again. 

These roses are shot against a gold wall. I like the way the pink  and gold play against each other. The contrasting colors startle each other, but they do not clash.  The boldness of the gold deepens the warmth of the rose, releasing its sweet aroma. Can you smell it? 

There’s a tropical feel here.  It reminds me of a conch shell I have sitting near my bath, the deep rose at the center of its hollow, the broad lip curling outward turning shades of gold, the whole sculpture a study of pink and gold, of curls and whorls and crowns.  The smooth inner lips reflecting the light, the rough and rugged shell absorbing it.

This following was shot out of focus against rippling water. I filtered it to see what would happen. 

It’s hardly a rose anymore, hardly water, it’s all melted together, water and rose. 

There’s a surreal quality, what a rose might look like painted by Van Gogh, underwater, floating among the seaweed.  A still face just below a rippling surface, holding you with its gaze.  Trying to tell you. You strain to hear.  What is it?  What do you hear?

The next is also filtered, shot against the travertine tile. Romanesque, don’t you think? An old world quality.  Ivory and old lace.There’s a coolness and stillness here, yet the light still brightens. 

I’m reminded of ancient statues, the way the light wraps around them, tempering the cool marble with its warmth.  The skin of the rounded limbs, the muscled thighs, the bent elbows, broad shoulders, soft and silky to the eye’s touch, the embracing gaze.

Can you feel the cool, soft petals?

The following is one of my favorites.

She’s just past full bloom, just a shade before fading, still buoyant, full faced, gracious in her giving, nothing hidden, nothing withheld.

The sepia tones capture that inner light, the golden glowing, the gracefulness and graciousness. We know where this ends. But the end is not here, not here at all, not in her, not in this elegant awakening, this gathering awareness, this full-throated opening to all there is.

Here are my lovely ladies, gathered in a crystal vase, growing old together. See how the petals sag ever-so-slightly?

You want to cup them and hold them up, you want to feather your face against them, you want to say, it’s okay my sweets, I love you still, I love you ever more, I love you just this way.

Never has your beauty been more achingly tender than in its fading, its falling away, it ethereal effervescence.

Your beauty is past knowing, it’s all past knowing.