Tuesday, June 16, 2020

My Beautiful Rescue

You know, I've tried to be cool about my peonies once again turning to mush in the infamous Pacific Northwest June rains. I mean, every year the poor things barely get a chance to unfold their delicate tissue paper petals when their magnificent multi-layered blooms fill with rain and melt into a mushy mess. So why should I be shocked or hurt when it happened again this week?

But I am shocked and hurt. I can't bear it that my plants labor all year long to produce these unspeakably beautiful flowers and within a few hours, they are utterly ruined. I feel somehow responsible for this tragedy. I want to save my peonies. 

Still, there's no stopping the rain, is there. I have to accept the good with the bad, another circle-of-life truth from Mother Nature's handbook and an unavoidable fact of our worldly existence, right? 

Well. Maybe.

But you know what. I've kind of fed up with life's unavoidable facts lately, and well put out by my outrageous inability to control what matters to me.

I can't defend the human race against Covid. Shoot, it took me months to even convince my own husband to wear his face mask in public. 

I cannot change the hearts and minds of my countrymen with regard to racism. Lord knows that if I could, I would.

And I cannot stop the rain from falling on my peonies.

Or can I?

This afternoon, my youngest and I were commiserating about our poor mushy pink flowers. I don't remember which one of us said it out loud first, but suddenly we realized we had a crazy, wild, radical, disruptive and highly workable idea.

Tonight's bounty. 
We left the still-closed buds in place to ripen in the intermittent sunshine until their petals unfurl and they become vulnerable to the never-ending rain. Then we will bring them indoors too.

We went outdoors, cut all my blooming peonies off, and brought them into the house. 

Now this may have seemed an obvious solution to my problem. But in normal circumstances, I'm wildly opposed to cutting flowers from my garden. Blooming flowers last so much longer when allowed to live out their natural lives attached to their stems, thank you very much. Once cut, they can only die.

But for my peonies, I'm making an exception. From now on, once their blossoms open, I will gather their fragile pink heads lovingly in my arms, and carry them into the sanctuary of the house where they can live out their lives under my roof, safe and dry, and gracefully grow old with me. 

I feel much better now.

U.S. Covid cases are still on the rise, and what we thought may be the beginning of the end is actually just more of the same. The coast, I'm sorry to say, was never as clear as we hoped it might be, and we must continue to live with the threat of the virus. How much longer until we can hope for a vaccine and a life beyond the pandemic?

Our national nightmare around race rages on as the body of missing Black Lives Matter activist Oluwatoyin Salu was recently found in Tallahassee. What will it take for people to stop hating and learn to live in peace? How many more will die before we extinguish this evil once and for all?

I don't know. I have no answers. Like everyone else on the planet, I've no choice but to live in the tension of unknowing, of dreading, of despair. 

But here at home, my peonies are finally safe from the summer storms, and I am thankful for my beautiful rescue. 

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