A Single Mountain Rose
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 by Frank Shortt
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Photo by Sharon Shortt
She is a rarity in the mountains known as the Sierra Nevadas. All the denizens of the verdant peaks do not seem to be so scarce. At night, while all others lie in repose, she sneaks silently upward, and in the morning she appears as a specter from out of nowhere.

She must think, "What is my purpose?" not knowing that she is providing a singular sight to the beholder. She provides wonderful fragrances to those whose nostrils are titillated by delightful aromas. To the bee, the ant, the butterfly, and even flies, she provides a source of nutrition and sustenance, some for the long winter when her own life will also be underground.

Any gazer who sees her beauty will stand in awe. They had not expected to see her as deer and other herbivores had nibbled at her foliage quite down to the nubs. Through thick loam, she had worked her way up to become the spectacle she now is. From winter's death, she was now a resurrected manifestation of loveliness. Rabbits loved her succulent leaves. Goats loved her thorny branches. Even squirrels and chipmunks got their share of her body.

Summer's heat beats down upon her. Day by day she must fight the element of heat. She maintains her color as long as she can. Soon, she fades as a memory that will last, until in springtime, then possibly she will reappear. At that glad day she will bring joy and gladness to the watchers, or be pressed between the pages of some ancient tome as a souvenir!

How like the mountain rose is the positive person. When all others are downcast, she shows forth her loveliness in the form of a smile instead of a frown. She does not despair in the midst of trouble. When all others fail, she remains steadfast. We too can be a mountain rose by doing for others who are less fortunate. Sometimes a neighbor who faces trials would enjoy the fragrance of a friendly greeting, a smile, or some small favor. There are many ways we can become a rare mountain rose to those in need. We sometimes forget that a person in need is not always in need for material things. The greatest menace against humanity is mental illness, something that can benefit from viewing a simple mountain rose!