The most common nickname for Portland is the City of Roses. Needless to say, we have a gorgeous Rose Garden (the official name is the International Rose Test Garden).  The primary purpose of this garden is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties.  In other words, this rose garden of ours is really an R & D center.  While that may be, it also serves many other purposes. We use this garden as a picnic area, a wedding chapel, children’s playground, a place for a casual stroll and a favorite photography spot. It also has tennis courts, some of which are even playable.

 I see our Rose Garden as a recreational R & D center.

KS, an avid amateur photographer, came to visit me from Boston. The minute she landed, she asked me where she could capture Portland moments.  Since the Rose Garden is less than 15 minutes away, it’s certainly proper and fitting to show off our beautiful garden.  There was still light out but it was overcast with dark clouds hovering above us, when we came to Portland’s Rose Garden around seven that night. She immediately disappeared into the sea of roses. Although spring is the prime blooming season for roses, frequent afternoon showers have beaten defenseless rose to the ground and countless petals covered the muddy grass. With my phone camera, I wanted to capture a flawless rose. I walked into bushes of roses and started searching for that perfect rose which was not beaten by afternoon thunderstorms. Ignoring the withered and faded roses as if they were worthless and ill, I walked swiftly and kept searching. I did find my perfect rose in a small field near the public bathroom. It was an impeccable yellow rose, just the way I imagined a rose should be:


I spent so much time capturing the imagination of my own rose, I forgot to notice there was also beauty in the fallen petals and weather-tortured roses.  I forgot to appreciate the beauty despite, and sometimes because of, some flaws.  I was chasing that one rose and forgot to take the time to enjoy the lavish garden as a whole. I forgot to slow down and smell the roses. I forgot… When I met up with KS, it was getting too dark to see the garden. We showed each other the photos we took.  It’s interesting that KS’s photos were also about roses in their prime.

See some of her photos:


I suppose that we all love things that are picture-perfect and unblemished. Sometimes, it’s important to remind ourselves that there is beauty in everything. We just need to slow down to see it.

I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. —Anne Frank


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