Cumulous Peonies

I made this little collage yesterday from a handful of stories and songs and words and images that have been chasing each other in circles in my brain. Sometimes the best way to stop the chase is to just make something, I think.

It all started when I watched a documentary about gardens of the world hosted by the enchanting Audrey Hepburn. Reading about her afterward, I found out that when it was clear that her cancer was inoperable, because she was unable to fly on a commercial aircraft, Hubert de Givenchy sent a private jet filled with flowers to take Hepburn and her family from LA to their home in Geneva where they could spend their last christmas together before she died.

In the garden documentary, Hepburn quoted Anne Frank:""The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."

In come the lines of Neutral Milk Hotel's "Aeroplane Over the Sea" about Frank:

What a beautiful face I have found in this place That is circling all round' the sun And when we meet on a cloud I'll be laughing out loud I'll be laughing with everyone I see Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all

And of course, for good measure, I simply must add a Mary Oliver Poem I first read on a lovely friend's blog (as I also remember her own poignant definition of grace):


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart as the sun rises, as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open-- pools of lace, white and pink-- and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes into the curls, craving the sweet sap, taking it away

to their dark, underground cities-- and all day under the shifty wind, as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies, and tip their fragrance to the air, and rise, their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness gladly and lightly, and there it is again-- beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open. Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?