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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lilacs and Peonies



Oh, dear. I’ve been “tagged” before but have declined (or, to my shame, ignored) the opportunity. It has recently occurred to me, however, that that's the very opposite of what my response should be.

So this time?

Le Belette, this one’s for you, baby! (And to those I failed to respond to in the past, I apologize, sincerely.)

La Belette has asked me to name my six favorite flowers.

I’m thinking, however, that some of you know me well enough by now to know that I’m not a great follower of rules – Mwa ha ha ha haaaa!

Come and get me, coppers!

To me, there are only two flowers that mean anything.


Lilacs and Peonies.


Spring. Winter is over and oh, how grateful I am! Spring and the flowers that come with it are warmth, and, somehow, love. They remind me of my mother, a woman both physically and spiritually beautiful.

Look at her.

There is an almost hypnotic quality to her beauty: the rich, chestnut tones to her thick, glossy hair; the full curved lips framing perfectly straight, perfectly white teeth; the dark-eyed sweetness of calm, patient eyes. The vision of my mother – especially when one calls up early childhood, when one’s mother was at the Center of Everything Right, the supplier of food and love and wisdom – is one of sunshine and line-dried sheets; of smiling, talcum-sweet babies; of lilac bushes at the perimeter of the yard; of peonies, enormous flowers even the ants adore, flowers that cry out: I never left! I live!

They only last a little while, lilacs and peonies; and then they're gone. And maybe that’s why I love them. Because nothing beautiful can last, not in my experience. You may know differently – and I hope you do – but for me, pain sits next to love, despair next to hope.

Ah. You’ve touched a nerve here, La Belette.

32 comments:

Pearl said...

First!
ha ha o sheesh i'm lame...

I felt the need to comment, right off the stinking bat this morning. This post made me nervous, primarily because there's nothing funny about it. In fact, the opposite is true.
Once I received the "assignment" from La Belette, I wrote it in about 15 minutes. Honestly, it was quite an experience and once done, I didn't want to touch it.
Yes, my mother is still alive. Obviously we both are. :-) But there was a lot of pain for the family in our "young family" life and flowers and spring figure prominently.
See? This is what happens...
I'll be back to myself tomorrow. :-)
Pearl

darsden said...

LOL that you are the first! Thanks for sharing Pearl. Love the picture of you a couple a years ago...!?! You mother is beautiful. I think I have that same picture of my Mom. ( I know that pain you speak of-my mom raised 3 kids alone my "real" dad split when I was 6 months old...Never laid my eyes on that man, I mean bum)

mbuna53 said...

Very nice Lady Jessica, I mean Pearl.

I stopped by my mom's place yesterday after yoga and found her out shoveling the driveway. She just turned 80 a few months ago and has she just joined the YMCA this month.

I was going to try and insert an photo of her here, but I don't have an e-copy of a photo of her when she was younger, guess I got some scanning to do, Lucy.

Thanks.

Pearl said...

Darsden, you have such a sweet center to you, don't you? :-)

mbuna, old broads. When will they learn? I have another friend who found her 80-some-year-old mother on the ladder last summer, fixing the roof... I hope I get to be like that. (And stop calling me Shirley.)

Michelle said...

Pearl you you you wonder you!!!

Your writing takes me places...your descriptions are awesome. Very beautiful post Dear Pearl!!!

Sometimes its just as cool to be serious as it is to be funny!!!

My mom is 83 and slowing. No climbing ladders or shoveling for her. Still, she is feisty!!! Thank you for reminding me of that!!!

Happy Tuesday!!!!

Douglas said...

Nice change of pace, though. Was that you as a little girl? I am assuming it is. What a little sweetheart. S, what went wrong? It couldn't have been your mother's fault, she looks too perfect.

BTW, it's ok to be First. I relished in it when I managed to do it that one time.

Pearl said...

Michelle, thank you. You are kind. I feel like I've lifted a pant leg to show everyone a scar or something... We all have our buttons, don't we? Me and my mom -- I suspect we were sisters in another life...
And yes. When age grabs you, sometimes the changes come quickly, and we lose sight of what was. There's an old-timey song called "I Long To See The Old Folks" and when I feel like a good cry, I listen to it. :-) Old people are like babies, in a way -- you don't realize how special they are until you don't seem them anymore... Something about holding a baby, or sitting with an old person, that makes everything slow down, feel more "real".
Oh, MAN! am I sentimental today!

Pearl said...

Douglas, yes, that's me. I was a nice little girl. Mom made sure we all were. Well, except for my brother. He was a nice little boy.
:-)
There was a lot of death, unexpected deaths just a couple years after this pic, things that ripped us up and left us different. Maybe I'll write about it some day. I've told people before: "I'm close to the dead." And I do feel that way. Not in a spooky, I-see-dead-people sort of way but in a this-will-all-be-over-too-soon sort of way.
Sheesh. Don't get me drunk when I'm feeling this sentimental. We'll end up crying on the dance floor and having intense conversations huddled over the table...
Like I told Michelle, I'm feeling very sentimental! Damn flowers.

Sweet Cheeks said...

What a lovely post Pearl! I knew all along you were exceptional, and you just showed us. Lilacs are wonderful. How lucky your mom is to have a gem of a daughter like you!
:)

Tami said...

First of all...your mother is a knockout. Second - lilacs are my favorite flower EVER. I keep them in my house constantly in spring and am always a little sad when they're gone.

Protege said...

Ah, this was beautiful and my sentiments exactly; I always feel that pain and happiness are closely intertwinned.
And what a beautiful tribute to your mother.;)

Irish Gumbo said...

Pearl: You are always yourself, as this lovely and touching post shows.

Of course nothing beautiful can last, that's part of what makes it all beautiful!

Flowers. Fragile, delicate, but certainly representative of what we want and who we love. Flowers may not last very long, but thye carry within them the promise of renewal. Maybe not exactly what came before, but close enough.

It's what makes things interesting. Would I like to avoid bitterness and pain? Sure, to the extent that it makes sense to do so. But I can't, and the sweet things and the pleasureable things are more intense for it.

Scars are unavoidable, but to dismiss them is to dismiss your history, the things that make you what you are. Dwell on them? Maybe not. But forget them? No.

Beautiful, beautiful post. *sniff*

Kavi said...

I appreciate the sincerity of the sharing and touched by the fact that you didnt want to touch what naturally flew !!

I guess you dont have to be always funny. Life is not like that. You remember that O henry chap who said, "life is made of smiles, sobs, and sniffles with sniffles predominating"

This is a wonderful post. Which just shows the beauty of your mother aand the wonder of nature. of unbridled love and sustained possibilities !!

:)

The Wife O Riley said...

That is a beautiful tribute. It goes so well with a beautiful mother and some beautiful flowers.

nsiyer said...

Pearl. First, let me commend you for writing everyday. For me its a feat.
You write extremely well.
Secondly, your writing reminds me of my mother who is 80, and still independently takes care of herself and all of us. Mothers are a different breed. Who was God's mother?

EskimoBob said...

Pearl -

A very poignant entry. It, Shirley, can't be all laughs all the time. Sometimes you just get silent and reverent, especially in the awesome beauty of mother.

Careful - you just showed you are capable of higher, serious thought.

sticky said...

It was beautiful and from the heart, I loved it. Thank you for sharing - the funny and the serious...

Vic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vic said...

(sorry about the deletion -nonsensical typos)

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing the picture of your mother . There's something a little sacred about family photos; so much of who we are is tied up in them.
I associate lilacs with my childhood - so much that I tried to plant a lilac bush here, in the desert. It's a valiant little plant.

Ann's Rants said...

Pearl, congrats for shaking yourself free of the jaws of funny. Peonies were my wedding flour, so they hold a special place for me as well. Plus knowing that ant did all that work to make it bloom...xo

IB said...

Really...very beautiful, you and your mom

Susan said...

Positively beautiful. White peonies are my favorite and I hope your mother appreciates your feelings for her. Beautiful!

Susan said...

And Irish Gumbo, after reading your comment? I WANT YOU

The Retired One said...

Just had to add my remarks to the heaps of others you have had on your post. Lilacs ARE my favorite spring flower too. And peonies? Did you know they couldn't open to their fullness and beauty if it wasn't for the little ants that work so hard by climbing on them and helping them bloom? It is true....look close at them sometime in a garden and you will see.
Wonderful post....I try to use my humor in my blog, too....but it has to be balanced with all the other emotions we are gifted with...
And you are a gifted writer.
Congrats. on a great post!

Irish Gumbo said...

@Pearl: I sense another revenue stream for you: DATING WEBSITE

@Susan: *blush* Wow. I'm flattered! All those years of "What's your sign?" wasted...;)

Not The Rockefellers said...

OK. I am now a heaving, sobbing mess over here.

Thanks Pearl and everyone who commented with such beautiful words...and Irish Gumbo? Imma give you da biggest cyber hug ever !

God Pearl. Thanks. Just thanks.

Peace ( I found it here) - Rene

Brian said...

I love your writing. Meow meow meow meow.

Braja said...

Pearl, that was beautiful...you obviously inherited a lot from your beautiful mother...

Gyppo Byard said...

Pearl - never apologise for writing 'straight from the heart'. you clearly surprised even yourself; and that's probably what made the post so original and moving. Don't change a word...

Wordver: stsubi - a Japanese earwax-scoop made of carved bamboo.

SweetPeaSurry said...

Holy crap ... sometimes coming here is like going back to kidlette land.

I love this blog so much I ...

got you an award from me ... don't hate me because i loff ya!!!

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

That was beautiful, Pearl. What an evocative post of childhood and mothers and how the scent of flowers can stitch them together sometimes. :)

Peonies are one of my favorites, too.

La Belette Rouge said...

Thank you!!!!I am so glad I tagged you. This is such a beautiful and fragrant post. I love peonies too and I love the poetry they inspire in you. Beautiful flowers. Beautiful mother. Neither last forever but both are long treasured. Beautiful, Pearl.