In the cool mist of early morning, I clipped spent blossoms of our crimson rose today. The bush burst forth in a spray of springtime fireworks last week, but recent rains sent its petals tumbling to the ground. Just hairy stubs are left behind, shriveling to lifeless brown casings.

Harold Phillips taught me this some forty years ago. Before he began a trailer tour of the Alaskan Highway, leaving me in charge of his lawn and flowerbeds, Harold showed me how to snip off the exhausted buds. If you don’t do this, he cautioned, they’ll sap the life out of the bush; but if you do, the rose will push out more buds and new blossoms will follow.

Harold was right. I saw proof in his flowerbed that summer, and now it’s  repeated in mine. A small bush where I harvested dying blossoms last week is already preparing fresh green squibs for another explosion.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past,” God said through the prophet Isaiah. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Only if we remove the old growth.