The Concrete Chronicles, part VIII: Concession

A hole offers the only evidence that a rose once grew in this spot – victor of mold, victim of beetles. Photo by Rachel Polaniec

A war over roses was waged; we fought long and hard, that mold and I, over those two little rose bushes. Mold is a black-hearted knave, it fights with a cloak and dagger. It encroached upon my rose bushes, and overtook their leaves.

It preyed first on one then spread to the other; I overtook it before it completely overran them both, but lo! it was too late. My spraying, my pruning, my tears and triumphs, all for naught. I routed the enemy, and sent it retreating back from whence it came. But my rose, oh, my poor little rose, it did not long bask in the glory of victory, before it shuffled off this mortal coil.

I did pause, for now I had but one consolation, for one rose did yet survive. I vowed no mold would further encroach upon it. To my own word, was I true, and yet! 'twas not enough, for no sooner had I been done congratulating myself on a defense well-made than a new arrow appeared on the horizon.

Oh cruel hand of fate! For those leaves that had once withstood the smothering embrace of mold now lay eviscerated, devastated by the insatiable appetite of Japanese beetles. This would not do. To the armory at Walmart I flew, my weapon of choice, Bug-B-Gone, mixed with a burning desire for revenge. These beetles would feel my wrath; the righteous anger brought upon by the whips and scorns of mold and Popillia japonica. The bugs made gone, driven away and kept at bay by the mighty red spray bottle I kept by my side; I surveyed the damage.

The flower of youth had dropped from the stem of my beloved little rose. No longer fair and innocent, but ravaged by the steady onward march of time. We had weathered the storm and come through, battered and bruised. Stronger, yes; determined, still more; but keenly aware of where we had been and the one we had lost. Yet still we press on, forevermore, perhaps to stumble, perchance to fall, always to continue.

A hole remains where the other once grew. It has still to be replaced. I have none, no other to fill the empty space. I will supplant it soon, but not yet. A little more time to grieve, time to remember. A garden is forever growing, changing, dying and being reborn. And the cycle marches on.

Rachel Polaniec

I live in Westlake with my husband and our two sons. I work part time at Kohl's, and full-time at home. In my free time I like to read, write, and cook. My family and I take part in War of 1812 reenactments throughout the summer. My lofty dreams are of traveling abroad, visiting the great museums, and drinking all the coffee. For now I content myself with antiquing and Keurig sampler packs.

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Volume 5, Issue 16, Posted 9:21 AM, 08.06.2013