Monday, August 12, 2013

Rose-colored beach days

The beach roses are in bloom.
Today is the kind of day you dream about on long, sunless winter days.

Awaking to bright sunshine, I stare out the window at a world that sparkles clean and fresh after yesterday’s rains.

I remember my husband gently brushing his lips across my forehead before he headed out early this morning to go fishing with our son and his friend.

Hours later, I lay in bed and smile.

Sunny weekends at the summer house in mid-August – it doesn’t get any better than this!

For my birthday my best friend gave me a blue glass token imprinted with the words: “If you’re lucky enough to be at the beach, you’re lucky enough.”

Life is better at the beach, where a magical world enfolds.

Under intense blue skies, I walk along the tiny streets to the beach, passing our neighbors’ colorful cottage gardens.

Down at the rocky shore, I admire the Creator’s handiwork. The Sakonnet sparkles like diamonds reflecting the heavens.

Bringing bright splashes of color to this sandy oasis, the beach roses are in bloom and their heady scent carries on the wind.

The beach rose, which is also known by its Latin name rosa rugosa, is a flowering plant that thrives in seaside thickets, dunes and salt marshes along the Rhode Island coastline. Tolerant of spray, they bloom from June through October.

The dark green bushes or hedges, ranging from three-to-six feet tall, produce white, pink and red flowers, as well as orange-red fruit called rose hips. Their brown bark is densely covered with straight, sharp thorns.

They are also home to a menagerie of animals, including many birds that nest within its dense foliage. The fruit, which resembles small crab apples, provides sustenance to all sorts of creatures.

Although rose hips tend to be bitter and contain an abundance of seeds, they can be eaten raw, preserved in jellies or brewed for tea.

Beach roses are so common and such a familiar part of our landscape, yet they are not native to New England. The species was brought to the United States from eastern Asia in the mid-1800s.

Surrounded by hedges of fuchsia beach roses, I sit by the water’s edge, watching sailboats glide past.

Nineteenth-century New England poet Celia Thaxter said it best:

“The jeweled seas and the deeps of air, / All heaven and earth are good and fair, / Ferns at my feet and the mullein’s spike, / And the soaring gull I love alike; / With the schooner’s grace as she leans to the tide / The soul within me is satisfied.”








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