Is there anything like a peony to tell you that summer is here? Yes, I know literalists of the world, summer doesn't officially begin until June 21, but really- is there anyone among us that doesn't think of this weekend as the true beginning to summer?
All of our sweet spring flowers are gone- and now the garden is filling up with buds and blooms to lead us through the season.
I think peonies are such an old-timey flower. You can't help but be washed away by a flood of nostalgia just by putting your nose to it. It reminds me of the warm sticky summers of my youth. Ice cream sandwiches, melting down my elbows- the cake part sticking to my teeth. Riding bikes- not to get anywhere- but just to go. Saying goodbye to grade school teachers. Hiking in the woods, camping in the forest, cooking outside. Feeling the warm summer dirt on my hands working in my parents garden. Driving to nurseries with my mother buying seeds and seedlings. My heart beating through my chest with the bass drum of parades or while whipping around on the carnival "salt and pepper shakers". Homemade lemonade and lemonade stands. Pool parties. Sharing a summer with my first real boyfriend. Graduating from high school, consumed with confidence, exhilaration and anticipation. Summers back at home, relaxing- being lazy, being with friends. Graduating from college, glowing with confidence, exhilaration and anticipation.The smell of neighbors grilling. Getting into the car and being suffocated by that heat, knowing the air conditioner needed to be turned on for the first time. (Rolling down the windows just wasn't going to cut it.) Eating tomatoes right off the vine- salt shaker in hand. Planning my own wedding. Working in my own garden. Telling my dearest friends I was pregnant, and then again. Volumes of iced coffees, iced tea, ice cream. Walking with Ezra along Lake Michigan- the water still too cold to swim in, but too irresistible not to. Sitting on the porch swing with Jamie, just being quiet, swinging. Maybe you too have many of these memories- or perhaps you are in the middle of making them. Enjoy them. Remember them.
That is what the peony does for me. It reminds me to slow down- to enjoy the little moments- some of which seemed so insignificant at the time but thinking about them now they seem so full of life- of my life. Welcome back summer, I've missed you.