“Spring Peony – Dr. Alex Fleming”

“Spring Peony - Dr. Alex Fleming”

“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.

Nikon D800
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

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5 Comments on ““Spring Peony – Dr. Alex Fleming”

  1. My grandmother has alway had peonies in her yard and gardens. They will always remind me of her, and how us kids would always beg to cut one to take home for mom.

  2. Smells, perfumes, aromas, odours — they can evoke such strong emotions in us as your quote (and your post) so aptly say. Isn’t it wonderful when they bring back happy memories we thought long-lost. 🙂

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