This is why I love peonies:
A few years ago I moved my peony plants. I am really not much of a gardener at all. But I am learning and I love it.
I was told not to move them as they do not like it. I didn't have a choice and replanted them and was curious about what it meant for a peony 'not to like something'.
Well, as it turns out, it means 3 years with not even a single bud offered. My favourite flowers in the garden just totally went on strike. For 3 whole years.
But then I find all these buds this morning. Oh my goodness. I am going to have actual real-life beautiful peonies this year. It is seriously exciting.
But here's why I really love them.
Because when I was growing up, I was famous for having enormous tantrums and grumps and for withdrawing from everyone. Once I had left the room, even once I had calmed down, I absolutely could. not. go. back. downstairs. into. the. room. I felt such anger and then such all-consuming shame.
Hence my peony love. I feel so completely validated by them. And I love how they give me a very real experience of how loved and watched I was during those very hard years of my life - when I thought something was very wrong with me and just couldn't get on with things. These days, I still feel that well-worn pathway of possibility and I do the mini version of withdrawing and retreating. I am learning to come back more gracefully with time.
And, as I stand and wait patiently for the peonies to make their reappearance after THREE WHOLE YEARS of sulking (which makes me a lightweight sulker in comparison), I get a taste of the sweetness of the Love that held me through those years and holds me still through my sulky moments today. And the Love and unconditional patience that holds us all, however grumpy, withdrawn, sad and lost we get.
As I stand there, waiting for them to flower, I know this deep in my bones: We can turn our back on the light. We can throw a shoe at the light (as Robert said in his last talk - it made me laugh a bit too much). But we can't make it go out or turn away from us or forget us or leave us behind.
And when we do manage to walk back into the room, there is still space for all our radiant beauty to burst out of us. That beautiful, essential part of us never goes away or changes. We just forget it for a while.
And that's why I love peonies.