Every June if the weather and sunshine have cooperated with the 65 year old heirloom peonies my grandmother planted my life is graced with these magnificent flowers. There are so many circling my grandmother's cottage, a cottage I now call home, that I am able to share bouquets around the neighborhood.
I was an orphan found in a Florida orphanage in 1948 by a Navy couple; they adopted me in 1949. Their blend of caring, discipline and military rigidity made for a very difficult ten years until I escaped from the frying pan into the fire of an early marriage.
The saving grace was the new grandmother who moved up from Florida into a cottage on the property, planted her peonies and loved me. These peonies remind me every year of the gratitude I feel toward her, toward the sanctuary of her cottage and even the grace of a young couple taking a chance on an orphan. I am always reminded of this poem by Raymond Carver titled Late Fragment :
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
Beloved on the earth.