February 12, 2022

Gifted with My Own Words, Guest Post by Brenda Leyland

Image by Erwin Nowak from Pixabay

"My heart had been
touched beyond words."

It all started on a summer day in 1988. The morning was alive with sunshine and birdsong, and the air buzzed with a sense of adventure. My girlfriends and I were off to Miette Hot Springs to celebrate Canada Day in the mountains. The vehicle was packed to the roof with picnic hampers, swimming suits and towels, and a motley host of sunscreen, blankets, hats, cameras, books, and binoculars. We all looked forward to sharing the day together—eating lunch in the mountain air, keeping our eyes peeled for flowers and wildlife, dipping in the pool, and hiking alongside cold mountain streams.

That summer day was decked out in its best glory. While my friends were busy scoping out postcard perfect photo scenes—they were the photographers—I selected a sunny spot near the cascading stream where I could let my thoughts flow. To bask in the wild beauty around me and take inspiration from it to write en plein air. A blue writing folder in my lap, I would have thought of L.M. Montgomery—she was my heart's writing mentor. Her books and poetry often referred to nature's beauty; dared I emulate her in celebration of a perfect day? A poet I was not, yet when my eyes met a pale pink wild rose blooming on a bush nearby, I felt compelled to try.

I examined its fragile petals and breathed in its heady scent, careful not to sniff a bee up my nose. Thoughts flitted and buzzed through my mind as I tried out first this word and then that one. Funny thing, taking photographs wasn't my thing in those days—the fiddling with different lenses trying to get the right focus, it was too persnickety for me. Yet I felt no such impatience when it came to fussing with words, swirling them on my tongue, listening to the cadence, choosing what best expressed an overflowing heart. That evening on our way home in the twilight hours, bodies tired and souls sated, I held my wild rose poem near to my heart.

Months later, one evening around Christmastime, my girlfriends and I met to celebrate the season. We exchanged gifts, and I was handed an elegantly wrapped package; it certainly didn't look like a book or Crabtree & Evelyn bath oil. With the last of the wrapping paper removed, I sat astonished. For there—lettered on a water-coloured background nestled alongside paper tole roses—was my wild rose poem. 

Framed and ready to hang on the wall, I held in my hands the gift of my own words.

Never shall I forget that moment. Or my dear friend's extravagance and generosity. My heart was touched beyond words. What a lovely handmade keepsake of a gorgeous summer day. But more than that, it was a gift that affirmed and acknowledged my aspirations to be a writer. No gift could have been more perfect.

The Wildrose
written July 1, 1988

The rose blooms in the wilderness
   Its only gardener the Creator
The petals send forth their fragrance
   Till the air is filled with their sweetness

The rose blooms in the wildness
   Its beauty fringed with rainbow light
Each blossom exuberantly praises the Designer 
   As it sways on the evening breeze

One rose bloomed in the wilderness
   Its beauty was crushed underfoot
But though the rose was cast aside and forgotten—
   Its fragrant blossoms permeated—forever
   changing the world in which it bloomed.

* * *

Inspired by the beauty of God's world around her, Brenda Leyland writes from her home in northerly Alberta, Canada. She also writes on her blog It's A Beautiful Life and Facebook page.


  1. Lovely post and lovely poem, dear Brenda. What a wonderful act of kindness and love your friend shared with you.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    1. Thank you, Wendy. I think this gift is means even more today as I look back.

  2. How lovely that your words returned to you in such a beautiful fashion.

  3. It's a precious thing to receive affirmations from dear and trusted friends, doubly so when the affirmation comes as your did, so beautifully packaged! The gift keeps on giving as you share with us:)

    1. Thank you, Kathy. This gift makes it even more special as I remember it all these years later. I feel affirmed all over again.

  4. What a great post. Wild roses are plentiful here in Alberta and they smell so wonderful.

    I also miss Edmonton's Mill Creek Ravine Park. It was my escape from the city and it's manic noise. Being surrounded with living plants and creatures was such a balm for my soul. God's creation glorifies him just by being.

    1. Bruce, thank you so much! Wild roses really are a gift of creation, and the smell is wonderful, I agree.

  5. The poem is lovely but I especially LOVE this story. I loved the way you so gently brought us into your world and your desire to write. The descriptions of the scenery and your own feelings were so deep. and then the beautiful gift at the end- well, that was just so thoughtful and special! I hope you share this story somewhere beyond our blog.

    1. Awww, Tracy, thank you! I SO appreciate your kind comments about this piece.


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