I have rooms full of bookshelves of books.

Today in looking for Mary Oliver’s book, A Thousand Mornings, I come to one I rarely open though it’s a treasure and rests in a sacred place.  

It’s A Light in the Mist, A Journal of Hope, Out of the Darkness, Into the Light. 

It’s a series of stories about transformation.  I open to a story about a young woman who, eating in a restaurant, dies of a peanut allergy.  Her parents had these words engraved on her tombstone: “God gave us memories so we could have roses in December.”  

The author who is anonymous often goes to visit the grave and sobs, but one day, driving away, though it was November, the scent of roses filled her car.  There were no flower shops around, and the fields were fallow and the trees were bare, and yet, “the fragrance grew stronger, and with it came a sudden sense of deep inner peace”.

Sometimes I smell my mother near.  Who knows what’s here that we share?

I open to another page and these words by Kabir Helminski.

… become ever more

subtle, softened, spacious,


How many layers in a rose?

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