Morcom Amphitheater of Roses

on January 1, 2019

At the precipice of spring, before the proper time of year, only a few roses bloom at the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses, though pruned rose bushes—bare, spiky, grey, brown, some a sunny red-green—line the area profusely, thorns prominently on display. It’s a clear, crisp, cloudless day: The sun shines upon an ovular green reflecting pool and small children play among rose bushes above a gurgling stone fountain. Large trees surround the garden, providing shade and camouflaging the occasional looming apartment building.

The children run, squeal, scream and laugh happily. They explore the garden under the gaze of a watchful supervisor, who calmly reminds rose-curious kids to be careful with the plants and to not prick themselves. Sometimes a child trips and falls, often on the stairs. They scrunch their faces up in pain, cry, and run to their supervisor seeking comfort. Two curious boys, shy at first, ask questions about my bike.

A few blooming roses can be found around a raised, wooded walkway that surrounds the park. A vine with white roses is woven through a trellis above an area of organized but barren rose bushes. A hidden red rose, mostly still a bud, stands out in a bushy section on the side of the path. A clump of climbing yellow flowers shines nearby in the grass, red berries glow in the shade of trees and purple morning glories snake their way up a nearby stone wall.

From the winding walkways, one can observe the park from above, see the staircases and trees, look down upon the highly-organized maze of unblooming rose bushes. One may also observe the people: The woman under a tree reading a novel, the old man walking with his wife, the children and their curiosity, the runners and walkers and those who sit down, for just a while, on forest-green benches to take in the sun-soaked tranquility.

On one side of the pathway, the repetitious beeping of heavy trucks on an unseen road perpetually breaks through the serenity of the garden.

Further down the path, a group of wild turkeys rest in a grassy, shaded area. One walks around slowly, methodically pecking at the ground. Another, who sits beneath a tree, looks at passing people with a raised, suspicious eye. A third, a male bird, puffs himself up, fans out his brown-black feathers, and struts around the wooded pathway with grandiose poise. His neck is red, flushed with blood, and he walks through the trees with determination.

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