I was trying to train it, you see, to make its long sinewy branches go up rather than down, left rather than right. I was trying to create a rosy bower using the pergola that Tom and Appolinaire built a couple weeks ago.
At first I just stood there, stumped by the enormous tangle. The rose needs to grow up and out, but without something to anchor it, the poor thing had been an unruly mess. It didn't like being pushed too hard, though. Quick movements guaranteed puncture wounds.
But in time I got into the zen of the task, moving slowly to avoid snags, taking off the gloves (which were just getting caught up on the thorns) and following each ascender to its descender — puzzling out the plant's internal order before fastening branches to wood with twisty green wire.
It's still a work in progress, this splendid, gangly plant — but at least it's in training.