The Rose Guard


How can we appreciate the roses

When our bread is nearly gone

When our bread was

Stolen from us last week.

How can we feel any happiness or

Understand hope when our

Bread is nearly gone.

Our bread was stolen from us

Last week.

Where has the bread gone,

Where are my roses?

The Rose Guard is here

To provoke a new era of

Hope, of love, of beauty, of

All good things that we can imagine


The Rose Guard will protect us

But more importantly nurture us

Nurture our minds, our bodies,

Our souls

As we march on

Without any bread.

The Rose Guard ensures that

The gifts of our earth are

Shared and used to


Rather than to cause

More harm.

The Rose Guard is me.

The Rose Guard is you.

A Fine Appreciation of Underrated Things

The humble dandelion is one of my favorite flowers. They joyfully brighten up otherwise ordinary lawns, offering visual variation through texture and color. The dandelion is also rich in many nutrients, such as vitamins K, A, and C, iron, calcium, and riboflavin, and they can be used medicinally to treat many ailments. They can even be made into wine.


I recently subscribed to Wine Spectator, a magazine I first heard about while watching a PBS telethon; ironically I got it at no cost by using points from a recycling program. Despite my profound appreciation of fermented fruits, I hesitated to subscribe for years because I thought it would be a bit like my first visit to a winery when I was told by a snooty sommelier that I was not yet “ready” to try a certain wine. Instead, I have found it to be a lovely celebration of exceptionality, nuanced beauty, and delicacy — many of the ideals that I most cherish. It is also about agriculture, geography, food, and family stories. With each issue I travel around the world and have the opportunity to learn something new. While some of the profiled wines are out of my current reach— for consumption but not necessarily for investment if I had both proper storage and the ability to resist opening an intensely mysterious bottle — there are reviews of wines that are a good value, and even of those that from the label alone I had previously considered to be an inferior choice even within a limited budget.

Every day, we are surrounded by people, animals, natural objects, smells, colors, and other things that subtly add something unique and precious to our world. But too often these people, places, and things become background noise or are even dismissed because of their perceived irrelevance. Even I, as a naturally appreciative person who tries to intentionally be even more so, am often too quick to be apathetic or judgmental.

Like one of my favorite children’s storybook characters, Ferdinand the Bull, taught us — we need to just sit among the trees and smell the flowers. It is there that we will find the rarest beauty both in the world and inside ourselves.

40 for 40 #9: Herbes de Provence


Ever since I was a student in Mrs. Scarcia’s French class at Trexler Middle School in the 1980s, I have longed for the perfumed air and transcendent beauty of Provence. Alas, I have yet to visit this much loved region of France.

I recently purchased Herbes de Provence, a fragrant blend of lavender, marjoram, savory, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Admittedly, I purchased it to bring a small order up to the minimum required to qualify for free shipping. But upon reflection, I realize how it is sometimes the little things in life which bring us the most pleasure.

Opening up my jar of Herbes de Provence, I can imagine the rare beauty of this special geographic area. It has a lovely aroma that is as delicate as it is powerful. I love to sprinkle it on simple foods, like potatoes and pizza, to transform them into something really spectacular.

While it isn’t quite the same as traveling and immersing myself in the culture of Provence, I can ‘visit’ Provence any day, even every day, by just opening up my kitchen cupboard! It was a very well spent $6.50.