“When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered…the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls…bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory”
― Marcel Proust
Peony, for me the queen of fragrance and memory.
As I stepped outside today, following a brief rain shower, the perfume of this peony struck my senses, causing me to smile as I recalled fond memories of the glorious gardens of so many dear to me, many no longer with us. It stopped me in my tracks, as I surveyed the garden, seeking the source. Yesterday, the peonies were just buds, filled with promise, but not ready to open. My eyes found the source, a single blossom, dew covered, and shining in the sun, the most intense pink petals fully and unexpectedly opened to the sun.
The memories are wonderful and intense. I recall gardening with my adopted grandmother, Margarete, as she tended a large bed of pink and white peonies, my maternal grandmother, Lola, also an avid gardener, with her own collection, handed down from her mother and cherished. Finally, my mother-in-law, Lois, who moved to a smaller residence a few years ago, leaving me her collection of peonies, not to be left behind. They filled every spare space in my gardens and I would have it no other way. They too have a history, having come from her mother and grandmother. Such seems to be the way of the peony. I’m sure each plant has fragrance and memory deeply intertwined.
As I sit and write this, the sweet aroma still in my mind, I can see each of them, out in their gardens, a smile of recollection on their faces as they reflect on their own memories and their cherished peonies.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
2.0 sec, f/32.0 ISO 100
High Resolution image on 500px