I’ve always enjoyed walking through rose gardens, primarily because I learned early in life in my grandmother’s rose garden and then my mother’s that every rose has a unique fragrance. For some reason I still remember my favorite: Sterling Silver. So walking through rose gardens has always been, for me, taking time to stop and smell the roses.
That phrase – stop and smell the roses – is of course a common one in the American lexicon. Most definitions are similar to this one: “To relax; to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.” (1) The appearance of the word ‘beauty’ in this definition has special meaning for me since my first Fell Pony was Sleddale Rose Beauty. In 2012 I had the opportunity to interview Beauty’s breeder, Mr. Harrison, and I learned that he had extensive Rose and Beauty lines in his herd. I never got to ask him why my pony carries both names. She’s the only one that ever carried that combination.
The most recent issue of The Partnered Pony™ Inquirer featured a story about Norwegian Fjord Horses in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day (click here if you’re interested in more information.) Researching the story took me back to my childhood, when watching the Rose Parade on television often occupied New Year’s morning. In addition, my birth town of Portland, Oregon calls itself the City of Roses and has its own Rose Festival, complete with a parade (though my memories, not surprisingly, are stronger of the city’s Rose Gardens, shown here.)
Thinking about roses and rose gardens reminded me of these pictures that show a much younger me walking through rose gardens at the University of North Carolina. They document that for me rose gardens aren’t just about smelling one rose but instead about checking each different one! It’s not uncommon for my husband to lose track of me when we’re walking along somewhere in the summer where there are roses because I’ve stopped to smell them!
And then I remembered a humorous story about me and rose gardens. When I worked at a high tech firm in Loveland, Colorado, there was a rose garden in the courtyard of the facility. During the summer, when walking from one building to another between meetings, I would often detour through the courtyard so I could smell the roses rather than the high tech gear inside. Apparently my habit caught the attention of my management because my stopping to smell the roses came up in a performance review. Fortunately it was more humorous than disciplinary!
While sharing my life with ponies has changed many things about the way I live, stopping and smelling roses is one thing that still remains (click here for the most recent manifestation: “Wild Rose and Wild Roses”). I now have two ponies that carry ‘rose’ in their name, and they definitely help me see the beauty in life every day. And both of them, in their own way, point out if I haven’t taken enough time to talk to them, their own way of reminding me that stopping and smelling the roses is always important.