Last year, about this time, I asked our wonderful Heath librarian Don Purington if the offer of a pink rose from his family farm still stood. Lucky for me it did. He not only introduced me to his mother Barbara, but my visit to Woodslawn Farm, also led to my meeting his sister Carol and a new friendship. Carol is a poet, a reader, and a great conversationalist. She was struck by polio on her first day of school when she was six years old, and has spent the past 54 years in an iron lung. Her survival is a testament to her medical care, her own strength and stamina, the love of her large family, and the wisdom she has developed over the years. Carol and I have had jolly visits together, thoughtful and gay by turns – including a joyful celebration of her 60th birthday.
Though Carol’s friendship was the unexpected gift, Barbara gave me more than one rose. Purington’s pink, pictured above is the rose that grows outside her kitchen window. It is about five feet tall and a substantial bush. Mine is till small, but it came through the winter and is fragrantly blooming on the new Rose Bank.
Also on the Rose Bank is the Purington Rambler which grows in a tangle on the stone wall outside Carol’s room. There it can tumble over the edge of the wall. On the Rose Bank it will sprawl and become a moundy tangle. It has taken hold magnificently.
I planted two other Purington roses on the Rose Walk. Barbara said the yellow rose usually didn’t survive transplanting, but I got really lucky and it has come through the winter. It is too small to bloom and I am still trying to coddle it, but I have great hopes for next year. The other rose is also pink, but not yet flowering. Keep watching.
While I have used Carol’s poetry on Muse Day before, I cannot again mention Carol’s poetry, collected in several books including A Pattern in this Place: Words of a Pioneer Woman with illustrations by her sister-in-law Stephanie B. Purington, without giving at least a tiny sample. Carol specializes in haiku.
“I set my bucket
Beside the spring,
Kneel to watch its surface flicker
With leaf-cut sunlight –
The peace of God enfolds me.