The Last Rosebuds


My husband clipped the last rosebuds of the season at our summer house today. They are pale yellow, long and extremely slender. Reminding me of opera divas, they struggle to hold up their heads; barely alive, singing their last aria. We pack them up and carry them back to the city. Perhaps, we hope, they will unfold in a jar of warm water despite their fragility. Maybe they will last a night.

On the car ride back we note the vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows of vanguard maples. They stand out strongly from the deep dull of evergreens. Not quite leaf season yet but it is coming.

New England autumns are singular. I grew up in New Jersey. The leaves changed there too but not with the blast-to-your-senses that marks October in the north. The color is so intense it seems to vibrate at the back of your eye balls. Crazy!

It’s cliché, I know, to write about autumn. Who hasn’t. Who hasn’t been stretched to describe the deep emotionalism of the season. Just as spring, after endless late winter snow storms, seems like a complete miracle, fall is a shock and surprise. The sense of impending loss is palpable in the cool air and dry rustle of leaves on the browning lawn. We have only just dusted of sun hats and put the kayak in the water. Times up? Can’t be yet.

Yet, autumn is a visual wonder. My son notes;

“You look around and you get this melancholy feeling because you know that beauty won’t last. Very moving. Probably the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.”


Beauty and destruction all wound together. Letting go while holding out hope. Believing in a future as the past slips inevitably by. Somehow, I find the dualities uplifting and affirming. This poignancy is a gift. Acceptance. Gratitude. Peace. Joy. All gifts.

Mason Gehring