Oh, how I love the blooms of a peony. Cut on Monday and promptly brought indoors, these have graced our kitchen counter for the past five days. They’ve aged quite well, wouldn’t you agree?
Many a story surrounds the peony. One legend has it, Asclepius (the Greek god of healing medicine and healing) grew jealous of his pupil, Paeon. Zeus, taking pity on the poor mortal, saved him from the the wrath of Asclephius by turning Paeon into a peony. Even today, the bark, roots, seeds, and flowers of the peony continue the healing practices of Paeon–healing the body through traditional Eastern medicine and healing the soul by adding a splash of color to the bareness of winter.
In our garden, they’re the first of the perennials to bloom. And they always seem to do so quite suddenly, as if bounding from the soil–party hats askew, noise makers in hand, confetti falling from the bluest of skies–to announce colorful days ahead. They do say mischievous nymphs hide in its petals. Perhaps that’s why ants love them so–they don’t want to miss out on the party.
Then, just like that, the flowers are gone and the plant sits content as a backdrop to surrounding blooms.
No wonder the peony symbolizes good fortune, a happy life.
So whether or not you’re heading into a holiday weekend, a peony to you. May you have the good fortune to wake up each morning healthy and in good spirits, surrounded by those you love, in a land that is free–with just enough wealth to cover everything you need, plus a little extra to share. May you recognize the good fortune to have those who willing to give their lives, so you might enjoy such luxuries. May you be thankful for the good fortune to have had those in your life who have gone before–even if you find the time together much too brief. May you test your life against the touchstone of happiness, and find it happy, indeed.
A bright Memorial Day weekend to you, my friends!