Blooming in profusion in a world of chaos – it is the Chaos Rose.
Roses have a language universal.
I arrive in Bosnia to visit my Daughter and to welcome me, she has sweetly placed a vase with a posy of red Roses and mint in lilac flower, in my room.
I look from the balcony of her house next morning – yellow roses arch to the top story, Blackberry canes heavy with ripe fruit, a green and lilac understory of mint .
I walk this ancient city of Sarajevo and see gardens and balconies filled with roses and ivy geraniums.
Lives slightly glimpsed through windows and doorways partly hidden by cascading ivy and roses.
I see the “Roses of Sarajevo’, on streets where reddish resin fills mortar scars.
I see beside the streets the many, many little white gravestones of the men, women and children, who died in this invasion.
I visit the art display, “Genocide of the Bosnians 1992-1995′ painted by Dr Mevludin Ekmecic.
There are Rose bushes amongst the part-ruins of the bombed Morica Han Caravanserai, where traders and their horses could stay.
Who knows what those Roses have seen amongst the chaos of those times?
And yet, I see in close proximity, Jewish Mosques, Greek Orthodox Churches, all day hear the blended sounds of Catholic bells, Muslim call to Prayer.
In the Caravanserai and the Old City area, people have stalls and shops with unique locally made art and jewellery.
I buy handpainted scenes of Sarajevo and am drawn irresistibly to a brass filigree-framed gold-orange worded picture from “Art Denici”.
A painted butterfly bracelet in brass from ‘Egoist’ for a friends daughter. Handsewn glittery table mats for a friend who adores a sequin-overdose.
I see elderly ladies on footpaths, selling small treasures. Posies of homegrown flowers, roses, zinnias, mushrooms, beans, mysterious root vegetables. Amazingly, fruit massed with bees attracted by the super sweetness of the fruit.
Men with tiny stalls selling everything from corn on cob, to secondhand shoes and clothes and honey.
People living on their own resources.
In the country, huge pumpkins, garlic ropes, tomatoes deep red from the richness of the soil.
My Daughter and I wander the streets of Stolac, see huge pumpkins, take hot Chocolate while feeling the spray from the waterfall.
We walk along the river flowing under houses from Ottoman times, see giant pumpkins, buildings now completely colonised by plants and trees. Curious schoolboys ask shy questions, then give us chestnuts for the ducks.
And everywhere the Rose. It blooms in profusion amongst the signs of chaos, the beauty, the history and wonder of this lovely, mysterious, intense, relaxing, country.
They say to drink from the Fountain in the Old Town means that you will return.
On the last day in Sarajevo, I admire more roses in a garden.
The Woman whose garden it is, has a few English words and I have only a few Bosnian words. Therefore, we must use the Language of Flowers.
“Hvala’. Yes, she understands. Signs me to wait. She cuts three roses, red, yellow, apricot and hands them to me. We smile. I take the roses and inhale deeply. ‘Hvala.’
I give the roses to my Daughter as I leave Sarajevo that day.
Sri Chinmoy says ‘when we offer a rose to someone, the beauty and fragrance secretly stay with us.’
The roses of Sarajevo stay with me.