The Rose Wins

 One Climbing Rose Envelops an Entire Tree. Portland, Oregon. June, 2011.
My friend Sam Lowry took this photo and granted his permission for me to share it with you.

Beautifying the Family Tree

My dear friend Sam Lowry posted this amazing photograph on Facebook recently. “A single climbing rose has fully colonized its host tree,” he noted. This marvel grows on the street in Portland where Sam grew up.

The picture captivates me. I think about my own family tree, and how through my life it’s been pruned and undergone grafting.

We’ve lost limbs through death and divorce, stacking the remnants back behind the shed. There it lays, out of sight, so much emotional kindling, waiting for a spark of regret to light it.

Sometimes I dwell on the woodpile; sometimes I ignore it.

Yet we’ve gained limbs through birth and marriage, hopeful tender shoots reaching for the sky, reaching to help create the sheltering shade that is my family.

No arborist nor genealogist would choose my family tree as the type example of the species.

Still, it is one magnificent tree. Its shape may not conform to any archetype, but it’s strong and sturdy.

A single climbing rose has enveloped that Portland tree in sprays of roses, exhaling a gentle fragrance. God’s love spreads across my family tree, softening the gnarled angles, sweetening it. We pick up the scent and pass it on, limb to precious limb.

A Bunch of Us. January 30, 2011.

8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)


  1. Such a lovely story of family trees and how they are trimmed, but yet have a delightful fragrence. Ours has gone through some cutting as have many others, but life goes on and put what pieces together that you can and enjoy each other.

  2. What I love is how the pieces grow together.

    And how I enjoy it!

  3. Gorgeous-both! Sheila, you must be so proud of this lovely family. They blossom.

  4. Don’t they, though? So kind of you to say so, Laura 🙂

  5. Well written, Sheila! Very insightful!

  6. Thanks, Milly!