I share a driveway with a preservation society and their side of the property line boasts an award-winning English garden. They invite us to enjoy the grounds at our leisure. I like to visit after close, late in the day when all the visitors have gone home and the bees and wasps are less of a nuisance. This particular day I walked the maze of flowers to get to the old shade tree where it is dark and quiet and the perfect place to rest. Perched my camera on the ground across from a wrought iron chair where I sat and kicked off my sandals. That was the rose. The thorn was realizing I’d only walked a few yards before my body screamed to throw in the towel — achy joints and heavy limbs that would almost certainly freeze in pain later that night. Small dark spaces are excellent for self pity this way. Then a large seagull landed nearby, looked me over, squawked in disapproval, and pooped on my camera strap as it flew away. And like that, nature sent me a message wrapped in bird shit: get over yourself.