Monday, May 26, 2008

Peony Day

Life here on Robin Road is sweet. The children who live on our street play freely in the road, riding bicycles and scooters or passing a football. Part of our soundtrack of summer is children's laughter long into the evening. We are blessed with the kind of neighbors that I thought had disappeared about 25 years ago. Our across-the-street-neighbors are the kind who greet you warmly whenever they see you, invite you to tea, watch your cat when you travel, loan you a myriad of tools, and are absolutely amazing gardeners.

These neighbors have a two foot wide border lining their driveway that is full of iris, peonies, poppies, tulips, and more. This morning Jeffrey was working in the garage when Mrs. M. came over. She was bearing an gigantic armload of white, pale pink, and bright pink peonies for Jeffrey to give to me. She remembered that peonies are my favorite flower and brought some to me. When I say some, I mean at least 40 stems - three armloads full. I spent quite a bit of time today delighting in the scent and filling the house with vases full of nature's most gorgeous flower.

I just love how voluptuous and petalsome peonies are. They remind me of a little girl's petticoat, or a 1950s debutante in her white ballgown. I love the ants that scurry all over the flowers, and the way the entire room becomes scented with a particular spicy-sweet smell. There is nothing like the fragrance of a peony. It was delightful to fill every vase in the house. Sloane and I had a grand time choosing which vase to place where. Even the cat got in on the fun and posed repeatedly with the flowers. It was an altogether delightful way to spend a day.

I hope that the week ahead will bring you at least one surprise as delightful as my peonies today were. May you have many days full of beauty, good smells, and fine neighbors.

Sursum Corda. Lift up your heart!


This morning the green fists of the peonies
are getting ready to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open -
pools of lace,
white and pink -
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities -
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again -
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot,
into the garden and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

~ by Mary Oliver

I took all these pictures today. The longer I blog, the more I long for a new camera; one with a lens that uses a macro filter.


dutchbaby said...

I am green, green, green with envy! I, too, love peonies. I have three peony plants in my yard but only get one or two blooms at a time. Even so, I boast about them to anyone who will listen. If I had forty, I would be unbearable to live with.

I love all the photos and all the peonies,but I like the pale pink ones in the see-through blue vase best of all!

Your neighborhood sounds divine!

My Castle in Spain said...

Hi Relyn!
Oh..what a wonderful neighbor you have!! she's so sweet..and look at all these flowers.

Beautiful pics and you're right peonies do look like petticoats

Have a lovely day!

Jessica said...

Hi Relyn-
I love the photos of the peonies! We used to have a peonie bush from my great grandmother's garden...which we couldn't move with us when we moved houses. I, too, live in a neighborhood that seems to fall back 30 years. It's such a wonderful feeling to know that someone is always there for you...and the picnics/halloween parades/eater egg hunts aren't bad either!

tangobaby said...

OMG! Relyn! Those photos are amazing!!! I'm with dutchbaby (and what she says about her little peony plants is true) that I am slightly green with envy but mostly thrilled for your bounty.

I hope you get the camera of your dreams. Then you will end up like me: The Paparazzi.


Dulcy said...



dianeinjapan said...

Beautiful! I adore peonies, too! We have two varieties growing outside our house.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

How wonderful to be surrounded with peonies! You took so many beautiful pictures, but I like the sink one the best because it holds the promise and excitement of what to do with all this beauty!!! Blessings! Katie

susanna said...

You have the BEST neighbors EVER!!! Can you send me their address 'cause I'm going to suggest that they move beside ME! Really, there will be a spankin' new shovel and spade waiting for them on their new doorstep. ;p

And the Mary Oliver poem is beautiful. I like her description of the ants dancing at a great wedding and her line "to be wild and perfect for moment, before they are nothing, forever".

Relyn said...

Thank you all for your lovely, cheering compliments. It is so nice to know that there are so many kindred spirits out there. One of the nicest things about blogs is to know that other people feel just as thrilled by beauty (and other things) as I do. ~ Relyn

Oldies, but Goodies