Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Rose Bush and the Oak Tree

Periodically, I will be posting stories that I have written.

The Rose and the Oak Tree
by Kari Yerton

Deep in the garden, in a hidden, out-of-the-way corner, grew an oak tree and a rose bush.

The rose bush watched the oak as it grew greater and stronger with each passing season. She saw his branches shelter nests of birds and his acorns feed families of squirrels. She heard the wind whistle through his leaves and marveled at the colorful showers he dropped each fall.

And she loved him.

“How can I ever hope to equal his strength or size or importance?” she wondered, “ I am only a small, creeping plant.”

She saw the other flowers grow up close to his roots and envied their bright colors and tall stems.

“I could never reach my flowers higher than theirs,” the rose bush sighed, “and my thorns would only scar his beautiful bark.”

As she wept in loneliness, her tears caused a sweet smell to rise from her petals.

The oak tree smelled this beautiful scent and searched the garden for what flower or tree gave this great gift. Finally, he looked down and saw the small rose bush, almost hidden by the hedges.

He heard her weeping and wished he could make her happy, so he watched to see if he could find a chance to help her. He saw her stretch out her leaves to give cover to a small mouse caught in a rain shower and open her flowers to feed passing bees. He mourned as her blooms wilted and fell away and wondered as she blew the petals to fragrance other parts of the garden.

And he loved her.

“How can I, a great, tall tree, ever hope to equal her beauty and fragrance?” he wondered, “I am too big and too rough to venture near her delicate flowers.”

The oak sighed in the wind and began to try to think of gifts he could give her.

He waved his branches over her to give her more shade, but she reached for the warmth of the sun.

He tried sheltering her from the rainstorm, but she strained toward the life-giving flood.

Finally, the only thing he had left was a single acorn.

He gently dropped the acorn in front of the rose bush and stood trembling to see if this final gift would be right.

The rose bush looked at the acorn in front of her and wondered why it was there. Surely, some squirrel would come to claim it, but, no, it just lay there. Finally, curiosity caused her to look up.

The oak tree quietly asked, “Beautiful friend, why are you so sad?”

The rose bush was afraid, but the gentleness of the oak gave her courage to say, “Because I am too small and insignificant to come near your roots.”

“Insignificant?” the oak asked. “How can the most beautiful and fragrant flower in the garden be insignificant?”

“But,” cried the rose bush, “I am not brightly colored like the violets or tall like the lilies, and I have sharp thorns that hurt anyone who touches me!”

“What does height matter to me?” smiled the oak. “I am the tallest tree in the garden, and the birds who nest in my branches show me all the bright colors I could wish to see.”

“You forget my thorns,” reminded the rose bush.

“No, I did not,” laughed the oak tree. “You need the thorns to cling to my rough bark. My size and strength will protect you, and your beauty and fragrance will spread across the garden as you climb my trunk.

“Come, rose bush, climb up around my roots and we will grow together.”

And the rose bush wept for joy.