In the Presence of Peonies

This morning I ventured out into my garden hoping that today would be the day.

I brought my camera in anticipation.

There had been a gentle rain in the night and sure enough, several of the tight buds that I’d been noticing on my peony bushes had opened and their delicate petals were laden with droplets of water.

Click, click, click, my camera captured the freshness of the moment. I’m happy to share them with you today!

I have been anticipating this post for an entire year now. I’ve held a poem in waiting until just the right moment and today is the day. I discovered this Mary Oliver poem last year AFTER the peonies had bloomed and I’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you ever since.

Take a deep breath and prepare yourself to receive this poem.
Read it once and then read it again.

Notice what stands out for you.

There are many words of wisdom and delight offered here and there will be some that will have special meaning for you today.


Peonies by Mary Oliver

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.

Was there a particular word or a phrase that spoke to you today?
Read it again and again.
Was there a visual image or a memory that was evoked?
Stay with it for awhile.
Was there a question that was asked?
Answer it.

Let being present to peonies and the reading of a poem teach you how to live your life.

Linger with the images and the feelings that arise.
Ponder the questions.
Open yourself with curiosity.
Say yes.

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