A young man I used to know wandered aimlessly for weeks in a cloud of depression. He could not remember the last time he felt joy, or happiness of any kind for that matter. He could not recall what pleasure felt like, what it looked like, where it came from, or how to find it. He could not rely on an ancient formula, or an abiding faith, to make it emerge. He had lost every impression of what it even was.
He found himself in a rose garden in the middle of downtown somewhere, not far from the homeless shelter where he was sleeping. It was a beautiful sunny day. Not for him, but in a general sense. He suddenly realized he was surrounded by some of the most profound beauty imaginable. He’d forgotten that life held such
grace, such loveliness, such promise, such pleasure. It was a remarkable contrast to his condition.
There were a hundred or more rose bushes, of every variety and color. He spent the remainder of the afternoon walking around smelling one rose from every bush. Taking his time, deliberating over every fragrance. Each one had a distinct aroma, a unique personality, a fresh bouquet of gratification. By the end of the day he was quite overwhelmed by the experience, quite high on the encounter.
He had reasoned that, if he could just live with roses, the inherent pleasure of it would far outweigh the pain of his life. But, understanding that living in the garden would not be an option, he decided on the next best thing. He’d take the garden with him.
He walked back through the area and pinched one petal from a rose on every bush. Then he placed a deep red, richly aromatic petal in his nostril and put the rest in his pocket to keep for later. This was how he would carry the happiness with him. This is how he would rise above his depression.
A brilliant idea, and the all-encompassing scent kept him in a perpetual state of bliss. For about two hours.
The subsequent migraine lasted for days, and nearly drove him to the brink.
Pesticides on roses, in noses . . . . . . . . . . they don’t mix.
Beauty, like everything else, is best enjoyed in the context of its own design.
Otherwise its allure can over-ride the judgment of even the most reasonable of men.