The Rose: Extraordinary Ordinary Things

Whenever I sit down to write one of these essays, I frequently start with an unusual personal experience and expand from there. I tried to do that this time, but it didn’t work. The rose, both physical and conceptual, seems to be so much a part of everyone’s thoughts and experience, any story I could tell probably would quickly be matched and exceeded by someone else’s. So, I gave up. But not entirely.

Anything so intimate and integral to so many people, which characterizes the rose, almost by definition is both ordinary and extraordinary. And occasionally surprising. The rose even plays a significant role in computing and computer science. A fulsome exploration of this unexpected phenomenon will be found in the section “The Rose and Computing” near the end of this essay.

For these (and other) reasons, I have no qualms about welcoming the rose into a place of honor on the list of what I like to call “extraordinary ordinary things.”

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