How can one flower have so many enfolding petals?
Grandma called them pineys, and I don't know why. They
smelled so good, the full lush petals
crowded thick, the whole flower heavy on its stem, the leaves
dark and rich as shade in Chautauqua woods where each spring I
hunted for violets.What could there be to pine for on this earth?
Now I think maybe it was Missouri she missed, and maybe that
was what somebody she knew called peonies there, before she
travelled to Ohio, a sixteen year old bride whose children came
on as fast as field crops and housework. Her flowers saved her,
the way they came up year after year and with only a bit of care
lived tender and pretty,each kind surprising, keeping its own
sweet secret: lily-of-the-valley, iris, and the feathery cosmos,
lilacs in their white and purple curls, flamboyant sweet peas and
zinnias,the bright four o'clocks and delphinium, blue as her
eyes, and the soft peony flowers edged deep pink.
In her next lifetime I want my grandmother to
walk slowly through the gardens in England and Kyoto.I want
to be there when she recognizes the flowers and smiles, when
she kneels and takes the pineys in her hands.
Jeanne Lohman. Calls from a Lighted House. Fifthian Press