The carvings are so detailed and beautiful from my vantage point down below. Sprays of roses, leaves and scroll work crown the top of the French wardrobe given to me by family. The piece is more than 200 years old now, having been created as a new household furnishing (and a somewhat grand one) sometime in the late 1700s. There have been some elegant frocks and waistcoats housed inside its beveled mirrored doors no doubt.

I often look up at the roses from down below on the sofa while reading or writing. They appear so delicate from the distance. Its only when, and rarely so, being dusted or polished that they’re close enough in sight to observe the craftsmanship of each petal and curving leaf. And much to my surprise I’m reminded again that though entirely hand-carved the roses are merely a representation of the velvety, fragrant and fragile roses that grow just outside my door. Up close you can see more detail—then it becomes apparent that they’re not as delicate as perceived from a distance. And they’re also one thing, in a word . . . wooden. Beautiful but no fragrance. Smooth to the touch but inflexible.

Real roses bend in the wind with ruffled petals and thorny guardians and they don’t require dusting or further polish. Yes, the blooms will fade and the petals will drop one by one. If I could choose to be one or the other I’d prefer to be in the garden, exposed to the fresh air and to the rise and fall of the sun and moon, to be able to enjoy the early morning bird song and even have a little warbler or two build a nest nearby.

Maybe some would prefer to dwell on high in a permanent state of unchanging beauty, and though it does sound tempting at times, its otherwise known as wooden.

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