In my part of the world, we have been operating in relentless heat, mid-July steaminess which has shown itself in early June. Purple Iris stood tall and opened all in one day. A week later pink Peonies, the ones with the soft yellow center, stood tightly budded and then unfurled themselves in a day as if they were emerging from a long Covid winter ready to party. The next day they were spent, exhausted, and drooped in their last breath.
A friend and I escaped by driving an hour and a half north to the shores of Lake Superior to celebrate our birthdays. It felt like stretching our long unused wings with walks along the shore, watching a freighter from New York enter the harbor to unload their wares, dining in restaurants, sitting on the balcony and listening to the waves, and visiting shops opening to customers ready to see a new shiny object, piece of art, a new frock.
With too much isolation, too much heat, a plethora of bad news, the greater world still amid this pandemic, and continuing to be cautious even with vaccine on board, we run outside to laugh, scream, hug, and let ourselves breathe fully.
I recently joined a four-hour workshop to get my artist gears oiled and ready to paint the world again. I had felt rusty and lacking in confidence as Covid time had swept me into house projects, writing projects, and generally out of my normal routine. My vision has now shifted once again and I am looking at the world wondering, how do I capture that green, the lighthouse in the harbor, the softness of the clouds? It is joy to my heart.
We do not know what lies ahead. Each generation has endured times when we rely on hope in our uncertainty, grit to move through what we must, and determination to make it to a more forgiving tomorrow. As in any grief story, we cannot stay too long in the depths of the story. We need to take moments of joy as they come, laugh in the face of what seems absurd, run around the block when we have sat too long, and bring kindness into a cynical world.
The pink peonies, named Bowl of Beauty, were pushed to burst forth in the moment they were offered. I thank them for their fleeting wonder, now a memory that I draw forth at will with color and perfume fully alive within me.