Our weather forecast looks bad for the peonies. They can’t endure a blast of 96 degrees looming on Tuesday like a bad trip to the dentist. So between Thursday night and Saturday morning, I probably mooched my full 2022 ration of garden peonies from the yards and gardens of my most indulgent friends.
I’m not complaining. I can barely take in the wonderment of riches I carried home. The fragrance penetrates so deeply between memory and the present, it erases everything but its own clarion intensity. And the buds are astonishing – full to bursting with petals that unfold in what seems like the blink of an eye. The last thing I did before leaving Ann’s house was to cut a single, ripening bud from her golden Bartzella peony. In the 45 minutes it took to drive home, the bud transformed into a creature glowing with layers of light, its heart crowded with thick yellow stamens.
I can’t do the peonies justice. I’ve surrendered that aspiration. All I can do is wonder out loud, for all to see, at the abundance of their magic. And thank them every day – and I do – for making my world so beautiful for a while.