The Nothingness of the Ground

Wendy Johnson

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In the winter garden we have been pruning the Old Roses for a solid month, caught in a thicket of crossed canes and swollen buds. We planted this garden almost twenty years ago, and today I am the cowering servant of Rosa mundi and great maiden’s blush. These roses thrash me soundly if my pruning shear mindfulness wavers in their ancient presence.

And it does. This morning there was an eruption of wildlife at the base of the great maiden’s blush, a rose whose original name in her native French is cuisse de nymphe, or “The Inner Thigh of the Nymph,” a name which evokes perfectly both the suffused pink color of the rose as well as the source of her modest, anglicized name.

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