There’s something about roses in general, but white ones specifically, that move me to a response.
The sight of them in bloom rocked me back to this experience:
Earlier this year, Amy, Adam & I went to see the premier of Andy Garcia’s fabulous film, The Lost City. We had the happy privilege to have been present on opening night here in South Orange County with an audience that was entirely Cuban.
The film, of course, had a palpable impact there in that theater to all those Cuban Americans present. We could hear the sniffles. The sobs were also audible as most of us watched the biggest turning point in all our lives unfold on that screen. But the most gripping moment for me, was toward the end when Fico Fellove (Andy Garcia) starts reciting from Versos Sencillos by José Martí (Cuban Patriot and Saint). Everyone present began reciting as well. Through choked tears we said the familiar words and as we became aware of the others reciting , our voices grew louder, if choked. Our tears became more obvious. My kids were crying, too. Maybe they didn’t completely understand the words, but the prevailing emotion was crystal clear.
The room got quiet for a moment until a shout of "Viva Cuba Libre!" rang out followed by cheering and clapping. Then we went into singing "Cuba linda siempre te recordare" (beautiful Cuba, I will always remember you), except for the residual sobs and sniffs. My response to this film was visceral, as I’m sure it was for many.
The poem speaks of consistency of character.
"Cultivo una rosa blanca en junio como en enero
Para el amigo sincero que me da su mano franca."
I Cultivate a White Rose
I cultivate a white rose
In July as in January
For the sincere friend
Who gives me his hand frankly.
And for the cruel person who tears out
the heart with which I live,
I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns:
I cultivate a white rose.
Amy, our resident film geek, pointed out that in every scene that there were flowers, they were always white roses. I went home and created a design that has Martí on it with just the word "Cultivo…"
(If you know it, you KNOW).
As do the white roses blooming in my own garden.