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A rose by any other colour

A water altar purely for its own sake

A single red rose, torn and dying
Glistening tears in the candlelight

…except...it is nothing of the sort. This water altar, of petals and rose-bud and clean clear water is a deliberate creation intended to be nothing more than a thing of beauty. The rich colour of the still-living flower, the way water catches the light, the softness of the petals that you could almost touch, and the scent that can only be imagined. In the absence of found beauty, having failed to stumble across a water altar, I decided to create one.

Why should the water altar not be a made-thing, just as often as a found-thing? Candlelight and water and blood red roses: these are things that please my eye and lift my spirits in and of themselves. I care that others will assign meaning to them that they do not have. They do not need to be imbued with false significance – misled by poetic words – the altar is nothing more than a flower in a bowl of water, lit by a salvaged candle. It is a thing I find beautiful, because I like the colours and the textures and water is my element.

I buy myself flowers when there is no-one to buy them for me. In truth I prefer white roses and yellow ones and the pink-edged Peace, but why should I shun the red purely because others have assigned a specific meaning to the single red rose? A rose by any other name, the bard once said – I wonder if he ever wondered what colour said roses might be – a rose by any other colour would also smell as sweet.

Life is not easy and we should honour beauty where we find it. We should create and share it if we cannot find it – but when you take up the beauty that others offer, remember this: you are free to assign your own meaning to whatever you see, but you must never assume the artist had that in mind. She might have just thought: it's a not-yet-dead rose, it will live awhile longer in water, and this could become a water altar. It does not mean that her heart lies torn or dying…

…although, then again, it might.

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