Pardon me while I hit pause in order to soak up the beauty of these peonies.
My favorite flower.
For so many years, I was away coaching during the first week of June, which happens to be the week the peonies bloom. I would beg Don for pictures, which he would obligingly take. I lived vicariously through those pictures.
But being here at this time of year is so much better. So much better. I can lean down and inhale that glorious scent. I can take close-ups of the velvety petals and the ubiquitous ants.
Who better than Mary Oliver to extol the beauty of peonies?
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
Peonies by Mary Oliver
from New and Selected Poems