An Ode To Peonies

 

When we moved into our house in August of 2015, we spotted a peony bush nestled up against the house in our backyard. It was in pretty rough shape and had a terrible case of powdery mildew, but I was determined to at least keep it alive until the following summer, when I envisioned our little home would become chock full of glorious bouquets of peonies. Well, the next summer came around, and so did our not-so-healthy-looking peony bush. The powdery mildew was back in a big way, and when I followed a trail of pesky ants from our kitchen counter out back to our now-ant-covered peony bush, I knew it had to go. Before I chopped it down, I did what every peony-loving shutterbug would do: I snipped every last gorgeous blossom, brought them all inside, and had a farewell photo shoot! We missed having the beautiful blossoms in our backyard this year, but I’m happy to say our kitchen has been ant-free, so I’m pretty sure we made the right decision. Thankfully, these dreamy photos will never wilt, and they don’t seem to attract ants, either! Now if only we could figure out a way to smell photographs…

I’ll leave you with this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver – it’s just as soft and dreamy as the flower itself.

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?

 

from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

(c) Mary Oliver

four stars no dots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Nicole says: Reply

    Gorgeous photos! They are so atmospheric. I love peonies too, and am sorry you had to cut yours down 🙁

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