Finding the Beauty of a New Year

red-rose

It’s the first week of the New Year.  For me, it’s hard to believe that 2013 is really here. Not because of the Mayan calendar, but because back in my heyday, say roughly the 1970’s, 2013 seemed eons away. Yet…here it is. I don’t make resolutions, nor do I get caught up in the negativity that surrounds us on a daily basis, so I tend to look for the beauty—savor it, revel in it, and breathe it in. It’s cleansing and restorative.

My favorite way to do this is to find the roses. Simple flowers full of color and fragrance. To inhale the aroma and bury ones face in the soft petals brings peace…and calm.

Designated the National Flower and Emblem of The United States in 1986, it represents what this country means to me. It’s a symbol of love and beauty worldwide. Scientists found evidence in fossils that this beautiful flower has been around for 35 million years. When I think on that, I realize how resilient it is, how strong to have lasted so long. Over and over it blooms, regenerates, adapts to its surroundings, and survives.

The rose isn’t only beautiful and fragrant, it also has medicinal value. The petals and rose hips are edible and have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Rose hips provide vitamins C, E, and K. They contain pectin, beta-carotene and bioflavoids to form antioxidants. They improve the immune system, blood cholesterol, and are great for digestive and weight management. Who would have thought this flower could bring so much to the table.

When I look at the rose, any color, I can’t help but feel the beauty surround me and the worries of the world melt away.

17th century French explorer Samuel de Champlain brought the first cultured rose to North America. Aren’t we glad he did? Rose gardening is a huge event in this country with a multitude of garden clubs around the nation. Of course, wild roses have been around here for many years before de Champlain brought his.

Roses have always been associated with feelings. The red rose means love, of course. Pink roses are the symbol for grace, sophistication, and elegance. Lavender has been identified with mystery. And yellow, ah yes, yellow. We think of the meaning of yellow as friendship. Did you know it was not always so? Years ago the yellow rose stood for jealousy, infidelity. There was an ancient legend where red roses were turned yellow when dropped in the water to prove a man’s wife had been unfaithful while he was at war. In recent times, merchants decided to change the meaning of the yellow rose to friendship. I think it was a good idea.

The rose is so popular in the United States that not only is it the national flower, but several states have adopted it as their state flower. New York designates the rose, Georgia chose the Cherokee rose, and Iowa and N. Dakota embraced the wild prairie rose.

Yes, the rose is such all-encompassing symbol. From fragrance to beauty, from medicinal to strength, it stands as an inspiration to carry on, to renew, to be useful, reach out a helping hand, to bring love and joy to the world.

This year, for me, holds many challenges. I will try to remember my favorite flower, the rose, bury my face in it, breathe in the aroma, and be reminded of its sturdiness. I urge you to look for beauty in 2013, bring joy to someone, and take care of your body. There may be other symbols that represent this kind of reminder to you and I encourage you to embrace them.

Fill your life with beauty; remember the little things that bring us happiness.

ref=sib_dp_kd-1Patty Wiseman is author of An Unlikely Arrangement. Click here to read more about the novel on Amazon.

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