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Sand roses. My father spoke of them often when I was a child. They were, my father said, special things, things of magic whose petals required the coaxing of a descending star's breeze to unfold, and whose scent upon opening may herald the birth of yet a new sun. For each of us there is such a rose, there not when we want, but when we need, for it is Heaven who plants and Heaven who chooses their harvest time. Pluck the flower that is your's, my father said, should you ever see it, and each grain of the ocean's salt will itself become a rose, for you. I believed my father then, as children most often do, and explored countless dunes for this wondrous bud that grew only in the sand. But with age I came to think of sand roses as mythical things like unicorns or men who fought for no other reason than honor alone ... and came to think of Heaven not at all. Until last night. When, alone and lonely, my heart as empty as a fireplace bereft of wood, only cold ash; thinking that I would die of the cold generated by that hearth, and resigned to do so, I began to reminisce as my eyes, measure by measure drained. In that less than raging torrent I remembered the roses, and with them my father's admonishment that the beaches which gave their roots shelter were not those of any coastline or lake, but of a heart and soul grown barren over the years. My eyes closed further and I was standing on such a beach with a rose just inches away -- Heaven allowing me yet one last opportunity to file the callouses. I tugged at it as a star fell and saw one horned beasts and men in armor with bright chaste swords.
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