I had lunch with one of my most beautiful friends today. I can always rely on her to dig in with me, to cut right to the heart of things and talk about what matters.
But things have been heavy lately and we were feeling it. The media, the school system, our leaders...where do we go for inspiration? Maybe we're not looking in the right place, we pondered, and we dug a little deeper. Try as we might, it just wasn't coming. The comfort of each other's presence would have to be enough today.
When I got home with the kids, we all headed outside on this glorious day. My friend and I touched on the power of appreciation, but we remarked that we needed a bit more to shift us lately...but what? I walked around the beautiful gardens that I inherited a year ago, and did my best to absorb all the beauty.
Ah...it was working, I felt a little lighter.
Then I glanced up and saw it. I let out a gasp (I really did!) and the boys came running. It wasn't there yesterday, but here she was today in all of her splendor: the first peony.
The gift of more buds were on their way, so I took the liberty of snipping this one, precious flower.
Then, as I do every year, I find Mary Oliver on the shelf...
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,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
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 exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
And just like that, it shifts. I get a glimpse of Grace, wild and perfect for a moment.
Thank you, my dear Marys.