Thursday, May 26

Homegrown Peonies

The poor, struggling peony that was here when we bought the house has managed to produce three viable buds this year. (Last year it had none!) I was briefly undecided if I should let it continue to  grace the side of the house with its small splash of color, or cut the blooms to bring indoors for more study and admiration. The latter decision is what I went with, obviously. The color is almost too intense, too incandescent for my eyes, but as Ralph Ellison said, "Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked."  

Another Ralph's poem about May flowers and the nature of beauty also comes to mind:

The Rhodora

On being asked, whence is the flower.
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1847)

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