Along one side of the townhouses that wrap around the high-rise development where I live, all but one of the flower boxes have the same plants. Each houses a flowering plum, showy in every season, even when bare of leaves. At their bases are two shrubby plants, one with purple leaves, the other more like a squat conifer.
In one box, roses thrive. The others are lovely in their uniform way. This one stops me in my tracks. Its orange-hued roses are a gift to passersby and show the green thumbs of the couple who care for them.
Condo life does not encourage individual expression. Few things can be changed without permission from the strata council. I accept that, though the occasional rule, such as not allowing clotheslines on decks, seems arcane in a time of climate change.
Still, the roses are a statement of uniqueness, an insistence on personal aesthetic preference.
We are told how unique each of us is, how no one quite like us has ever lived on the planet, or ever will. Yet media, government, education, and business interests barrage us with messages about how we should look, act, and even think.
It is not always easy to disturb the symmetry imposed by others, to be the rose in a box of flowering plants and boxy shrubs. Yet it is the out-of-synch rose, unique and gorgeous, that causes us to stop, to take notice, to re-think our own way of being in the world.
Be a rose. Bloom with your own, unmatchable gorgeousness. Rule Makers and Marketing Seducers, and even some well-meaning friends and family, will try to keep you in line. Ignore them. Your differences are beautiful.