Finding Resilience

Finding Resilience Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photographs a bruised rose to illustrate resilience.After I weed-whacked flat the little rosebush in the back yard, I remembered how I’d planted it over a decade ago with the kids, to honor our Omi Rosie, my strong-willed grandmother who had moved her family out of Hitler’s Germany in 1938. Unlike the family, the rosebush had never thrived. So, intent on reclaiming its spot for more lawn, I thwacked the scrawny plant to smithereens with the weed-eater, and then stood sighing over the strafed remains, sure I’d murdered it.

Two weeks after the attack, a small splash of red in the new lawn caught my eye. The rosebush. It had survived and was producing buds. One was blossoming brilliantly.

It’s a gift, I told myself. My first inclination was to attribute the small miracle to the ghost of my daughter who, in life, had gifted me red socks and red sweaters. But when I got close up with my camera, I recognized the astounding sheer resilience of the plant. Scuffed up and riddled with holes, it was a formidable survivor. It seemed to have a mission, like my Omi Rosie. It was gutsy, like my daughter who had partied with abandon despite cancer constantly clobbering her. It was scrappy and scarred. From all of life’s poundings. Like me. And like me, it was still standing.

I don’t know if one can learn resiliency or practice growing it. Or if it’s something you only discover when your world’s been shaken upside-down. Wherever it comes from, resilience is the thing that allows you to rise from the rubble when the sky falls. When I thought I had nothing to live for, it slowly sprouted from deep inside (or maybe from out of nowhere) and filled my emptiness with hope.

Creeping on hands and knees, I took a hundred shots of the rose. It is not beautiful. But it is truly—badass.

 

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8 thoughts on “Finding Resilience

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    There it is, Robin. And there you are. And here I am. Still standing. I learn this lesson from the bluebirds who’ve lost 3 out of 4 nests this year to snakes or sparrows or cold and they just keep trying. I can’t attach a photo here, but I saw the male guarding the last uninhabited nesting box. Resilience, perseverance, blind hope? I only know he won’t give up and neither will you or your resilient rose.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      OMG, Elaine. You can make me cry over a bunch of bluebirds I haven’t even met. I think I’ve seen some of your pics of the bluebirds. Kinda makes me want to put up birdhouses all over my little property. But it’s not easy to watch these creatures being resilient. My heart aches for them sometimes. I’m almost grateful the ducks and geese have finally stopped trying to build nests around my pond as they would always get destroyed by the other wildlife here. They’d come back year after year and they’d have so much – hope? and I’d have so much hope. And yikes – this resilience thing is exhausting. But yeah, you and I won’t give up. As for the rose – I decided she can stay. I mean, no more trying to mow her down on my part. Cheers!

      Reply
  2. Monica Sword

    I love this blog post Robin. We keep going, despite the battering. Will you allow the rose bush to return? I’m hoping so. 😀

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yes, Monica. How could I not allow that scrappy bush to stay on? I think it must be related to me if not actually some part of my very being.

      Reply
  3. Lynne Taetzsch

    The rose has its own beauty, Robin. May we all be blessed with such resilience!

    Reply
  4. Lucy Bergstrom

    Dear Robin,
    I love your tough, scrawny, badass rose, named after your prescient and proactive grandmother. I’m so glad she got her family out of Germany in 1938!
    What a resilient plant, rising from the lawn like the Phoenix. I love the way you write.

    Reply
    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I love everything about you, Lucy. Thanks for being out there somewhere in the world where I’m going to catch up with you one day.

      Reply

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