I search for distractions and/or blessings to encourage me these days. Seeing one’s child suffer is excruciating. Recently a beautiful bouquet was waiting on the dining room table when I came home from Katherine’s house. Deep pink peonies mixed with lavender blue blooms filled a gorgeous vase and lifted my late-night tiredness and depression. The next morning Gerald told me the story behind the bouquet: my neighbor Mary Lea Kahlor Burnham had come in and left them for us and phoned Gerald to tell him “a burgler” had been in the house.
Gerald often does an extra chore that I have always done in the past or brings me blooms from outside. (His roses are getting quite beautiful now.) And he too brought me a couple of little bouquets not long after Mary Lea did. As Mary Lea’s bouquet faded, I mixed the last blossoms with Gerald’s to stretch my enjoyment as long as possible. She had told Gerald the lavender blue blooms from her late mother’s garden were “praying hands” closing up at night and opening during the day. I have enjoyed watching them do just that. I tried looking them up on Google, but the only praying hands there were hostas, and it was the leaves that folded in prayer, not the blossoms. So I am curious of another name for these small sweet blooms.
This made me remember how in my childhood I liked watching to see how my piano teacher’s row of four-o-clocks by her sidewalk always opened their red blossoms in the late afternoon. Blooms have often been a source not just of beauty but of fun. One summer down at Mt. Airy Farm, my mother had snap dragons, and I enjoyed a lot of fascinating play snapping them. Of course, in those days, you could also tell if someone liked butter by holding a dandelion under the chin. If the yellow were reflected, you could announce that the person liked butter. And the hollow dandelion stems could be put together into a ring and added to others to make a chain much like the classic red and green construction paper chains at Christmas. Even prettier chains were made by knotting white clover stems around the blossoms. I hope today’s children are still enjoying these gifts from nature.
I watched with pleasure in May when once again a large ring of mayflowers showed up in Mary Lea’s meadow. I wanted to stop and go over and look under the green umbrella tops to see the little white mayflower beneath the leaves. But I didn’t. There really is not a very good place to park right there on our country road. That together with the fear of ticks, which is rightfully high in our family right now since grandson Sam contracted Lyme, prevented me from stopping. So I use my imagination to see the blossoms as I pass by on my frequent trips to Katherine’s.
Now the golden day lilies that our neighbors Scott and Sonje Cully gave us when we first moved here have just started blooming again. Profusely. They make a cheerful wall of welcome beside our house as we come up the driveway and into the garage. I am grateful for the color and the cheer that good neighbors and bright flowers add to life.