Thursday, April 23, 2020

Time to Bloom

A few days ago as my daughter and I were walking, I spied this peony dressed in its full glory. I knew I wanted to write about it, but I wasn't sure how. I started a poem about lingering in the petals and dancing with the ants, but that fell flat. So, I put it away.

Today, when I saw the invitation to go outside, fling my arms open, and stretch my heart, I knew it was time to take another look at this peony and tell its story.

As I walked over to it, I hollered at Megan, "Look! Look how big this is, and it is the only that has bloomed." She didn't find this as amazing as I did, and she continued walking as I went over for a closer look.

The neighbor had four bushes of peonies in his yard, and this bloom was the only one. All the others were still buds holding tight. I found this moment in nature rather strange.

Looking closer at it, I imagined how scared it must have been. Being different. Being lonely. Maybe feeling like it doesn't belong. I have been struggling with this same feeling lately, and I think that may be why this flower reached out for me.

But then I realized this lovely peony was standing tall and strong and vibrant, confident in its own place in the garden surrounded by so many others. I needed to draw strength from its glory.

I needed to learn that when people dig deep, fling open their arms, stretch their hearts...maybe...just maybe, that's when they bloom.


  1. When I saw this photo a few days ago, I had no idea that it was blooming now. I don't think we will see peonies for several weeks. This one is truly a rebel and says, "Look at me!" These are difficult days to be a teacher. It is so hard to not see your students bloom when you have nourished them through the year.

  2. Oh, there is so much wisdom in this post. I loved your last line: "I needed to learn that when people dig deep, fling open their arms, stretch their hearts...maybe...just maybe, that's when they bloom."

    This line reminds me that growth/bloom often cannot happen without deep reflection and a bit of stretching. Thank you for that timely reminder.

  3. Yes, like elsie said, that one is a rebel. I like quiet rebels ,and I like that it made you wait and work a little bit to find the right words, to find the right story. I do hope you draw strength from it's glory and keep blooming -- just as you are. :)

  4. Sad to report I think our latest snow has done in my peonies! But, I love your inspiring story, Leigh Anne, much good to remember here, about feeling alone in some sort of conflict, but knowing it will be okay, you know who you are & that's a strong, vibrant person! It's a wise post!

  5. Agreed with all -- such a wise and reflective post! Continue to draw the strength and stand tall in your beauty and rebelliousness! Print that photo of the peony, frame it, and put it where you will see it every day to remind you and give you strength.

  6. Peonies speak to me of summer. It was interesting to read how you gave up and then returned to writing about peony, finding strength from the beauty of the pink blossom.

  7. "Being different. Being lonely. Maybe feeling like it does't belong." Yes, I feel that.

  8. I remember when I was growing up and watching the peonies that my Mom had planted. All in a row, waiting for just the right time to blossom full and bright. I love how this rebel peony spoke to you. Thanks for sharing this and triggering a wonderful memory.

  9. Leigh Anne, I loved reading this after seeing this very peony on Instagram. I resonate with what I'm seeing as the parable of the peony, and I know, I just know, I need to learn the very same lesson. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. I am reading a book about poem making. I think this one is for you:
    "Nobody sees a flower-
    really-so small-we
    haven't time-and to see
    takes time like to have a friend
    takes time"
    Georgia O'Keefe
    I am happy you took the time and shared with us.

  11. "I needed to learn that when people dig deep, fling open their arms, stretch their hearts...maybe...just maybe, that's when they bloom." I love that you took all this away from stopping and really looking at a peony. Your thought process through the whole post made me smile...

  12. That photo is so striking--I can see why it kept calling to you. Brenda Power once told me that at the end of each day, I should use the journal prompt, "What surprised me today?" to capture potential seeds for writing. The peonies story feels like a just-right answer to that question!