Stopping to Smell the Roses

Half of my motivation to run for the past month has been to see all the rose bushes in my neighborhood in full bloom. The colors have been quite a treat, especially since I know the brush-filled hills around my house will be turning brown in the very near future (yay for SoCal summers). My well-intentioned runs have evolved into more of a jog–pause to smell the roses–jog a few more houses–sniff some more–jog–jog–dang look at those ones!! , etc.

For me, roses inevitably turn my thoughts towards time, and how I’m using it. Roses were much simpler when I was younger: I remember when I was in second or third grade, my mom and I spent hours wandering around Roger’s Gardens, searching for the most perfect blooms for my mom’s new rose garden, which was our Mother’s Day gift to her that year. I loved reading about the naming inspirations for each of the varieties, and of course, sticking my nose in the most vibrant buds and taking a deep inhale.

In the rush of growing up and focusing on my studies, where I convinced myself that every single minute should be accounted for and maximized, I regrettably let go of this sniffing hobby, because who had time to (literally) stop and smell the roses? There were papers to write and essays to read and problem sets to finish! Really, I did have the time, but it took quite a bit of convincing for me to realize that I did.

Last spring, to the horror of my inner-OCD-student self, but really to my absolute delight, Abbey and I started making a point of meandering to Berkeley Bowl on Saturday mornings and sniffing all the roses we passed along the way. For just a few minutes, I allowed myself to slow down, and simply enjoy the sights and the sounds and the smells of those sleepy spring mornings. At that point, I think I was willing to try anything to slow the rapid march toward graduation. I failed of course, since time inevitably seemed to fly as the date loomed closer and closer, but I’d still like to think it was a worthy effort on our part.

Abbey, demonstrating perfect rose-sniffing technique

Since then, my camera roll has been littered with rose pictures, documenting evidence of my rose-wanderings, and my ongoing search for that ever-elusive work-life balance. I encourage everyone to stop and smell the roses from time to time, or find your own version of pausing to appreciate any given moment (though I have to say, there is something especially cathartic about those long, deep, scented inhales).

If you happen to be lucky enough to be living in Berkeley or the East Bay Area, I suggest an afternoon hike to Berkeley’s Rose Garden. It’s a tad late in the season, but there are definitely still plenty in bloom to satisfy any vague desire to go rose-sniffing. In the meantime, I’ll be going from house to house in my neighborhood, pausing to appreciate another day, and ignoring the people snickering at me as I stretch out my nightly ritual for as long as possible.

Wisdom from the Berkeley Rose Garden

  1 comment for “Stopping to Smell the Roses

  1. Mindy
    May 11, 2017 at 7:55 am

    So now you’ve got me thinking, where did the saying “stop and smell the roses” originate?

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