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The Legend of the Balsam Rose

         One hundred years ago, an unbelievable event occurred in a narrow, rocky gorge deep in the forest. This gorge had been forming for thousands of years as the rushing waters of a powerful waterfall eroded the rocks. On a nearly vertical, slippery side of the gorge, a single balsam tree grew tall, reaching its fragrant, evergreen branches toward the heavens. Down near the bottom of the gorge, wild pink roses grew at the base of the tree in thickets that clung to the surrounding rocks. The balsam tree longed to get close and appreciate the roses’ lovely flowers and scent. Being so close to the ground, the roses yearned to grow tall enough to be able to see the sky and to look down on the gorge and all of its natural beauty.

                During one fierce winter storm, a magical and unexplainable event occurred. Frigid temperatures and heavy snows filled the gorge for several days. As a result, frosty high winds toppled the balsam and it crashed to the ground. As the tree broke apart, most of it was swept down the ravine. One balsam branch landed on top of a wild rose thicket. The roots of the roses held onto the sheer rocks. The strength and stability of the entwined balsam branch created unbending protection. The roses offered love and determination with its network of strong roots. Together they endured the blustery, frigid winds amid the mounting snow and ice.

                Over time, the balsam grew tall again, yet it was changed. Pink roses appeared on the balsam tree. The flowers completely filled the tree, peeking down into the gorge and up towards the sun! The forest air was intoxicating with the sweet scent of the roses combined with the fragrant aroma of the balsam, especially in the spring. The balsam and the wild roses grew together into a magnificent new creation, the Balsam Rose.

               The Balsam Rose has become a symbol of the importance of our love and concern for each other. We learn throughout our lives as we reach out and work together, we are stronger and appreciate each other more. If you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Balsam Rose or you find yourself surrounded by the scent of roses as you hike through the woods, be reminded of our own interconnectedness and need for each other. We blossom and grow with the love and encouragement we share with each other every day, much like the Balsam Rose.

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