Friday, April 30, 2010

Mother's Day evokes varied memories for most people. For me, one of my strongest is of peonies. When I was five, we moved to the first farm my parents owned. One of my earliest memories were of the red, pink and white flowers along the driveway. I don't know at what age I learned they were peonies and I don't know who originally planted them, but they were an important part of our spring. By Mother's Day, they were in bud and by Memorial Day, my sister's birthday, they were in bloom. My mother always took them to church to decorate the alter on Sundays. We had them in the house as well where the scent permeated the dining and living rooms.

One summer after the blooms had passed, my father was mowing with the cycle mower and cut down all of the peonies. My mother was very upset, but got over it when the following spring they came back better than ever. From then on, they got cut back each year.

Over time, they owned several more farms and at each my mother would plant peonies. I never gave my mother a bouquet of peonies. She had them in her garden and giving flowers wasn't something I thought much about. When my parents died, they were buried in a small cemetery near where my mother grew up. They didn't allow live flowers to be planted because it hindered mowing, so each year since I have planted two more peonies in my gardens. Unfortunately our growing season has always been behind that of the Midwest, so they bloom a lot later. For Mother's Day around here, I have had to content myself with tulips. Fortunately, both blooms have always made me smile whenever I see them.

The scent of of the peonies, when they do finally bloom here, transplants me back to being a barefoot, five year old going from peony bloom to peony bloom. The many petal layers unfold slowly going from fresh new buds to old, wilted, fully bloomed flowers, and finally they litter the ground in a colorful blanket.

Thought for the Day: Thank your mother for the flowers she has introduced into your life.

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