My brother-in-law is a computer expert and a gardener. We were walking along one summer day looking at my wife's fine roses. "This is a Queen Elizabeth. You can tell by the dark green glossy leaves. And here is a Snow Bride. See the white petals and the short stems."
My brother-in-law is a fount of wisdom on a variety of topics.
As I walked with him, he identified genus and phyla on many of the citizens in our garden. Then I began to wonder: What is a rose? Is it the name we assign to them? Or, I thought, becoming more precise, the shape and color of the petals, the length of stem, the beautiful scent?
Suddenly, the world opened to me. I became aware of the gentle touch of the sun upon my cheek, the soft breeze blowing through my hair, and I caught the distinctive odor of a dozen unique scents wafting in the air, all coming from living things, all communicating to me and to each other. Just then I became aware of the chirping of birds in the trees around me. I raised my head and saw three brightly colored little finches at the birdfeeder. I felt the soft grass underneath my feet, and became aware of it's comforting smell. I bent down to grab a handful of dirt and the perfume of our dear earth overwhelmed my senses, sending me into a transport of joy.
As I stood there with the sun gently caressing me, I looked up at the beauty of the blue, cloudless sky, and felt an overwhelming sense of well-being and serenity throughout my entire being.
As my brother-in-law continued walking, I stood rooted there, in awe of the magnificence of life, of my life, and of every living thing around me.
What is a rose? It is all of these things. It is all-that-is.