I have a few peony bushes on the east side of my house. Last year they didn’t bloom. They are in the shade of an entirely unappealing tree that is skinny and tall and drops fuzzy pods in the spring. It is also too close to the house. The peonies do not like the tree and neither do I. It does, however, have a thing going with the hydrangeas.
This year the peony bush that is furthest north and receives the afternoon sun has offered a few blooms in appreciation. Saturday I cut them all and brought them in just minutes before a charming pink truck delivered flowers to my door. The white bouquet and the peonies did not acknowledge one another. I think they were both a little threatened, so I spoke to each pleasantly, but did not expect them to become friends.
Monday morning as I was reading the paper, I heard a sound behind me. It was as if someone had tipped a box of new leather gloves onto the floor. Soft, but distinct, like fingers drumming without a rhythm. I turned to see a pile of petals in a heap on the table. The bloom had held them as long as she could and finally had to let go; she seemed a little relieved. As I turned back to the paper I thought that if I had made my coffee five minutes later, even two, I would have missed that magical sound and would have only seen a mess as I came into the room.