When my dad died a couple of years ago, I began to get the home he and Mama had built for their retirement ready for another family to enjoy. My sweet mother had a green thumb, not a trait she passed on to me, and their yard was full of spring flowers, and snowball bushes, and peonies. Really, all she had to do was push a seed into dirt and something would flourish.
I had reverence for their home which they had so thoroughly loved and didn't want to rob her yard of all her contributions spanning 30 years. But I always loved the peony bush right outside the back door, off the patio. So friends helped me dig it up before I put the property on the market. And the day I drove away from their house for the last time - because once it was empty I could not go back - I had that peony stuffed in a bag in my car. I came straight home, probably April or May of last year, and planted Mama's flower right in the perfect spot in my backyard. It immediately began to die.
I watered it anyway. I placed rocks that meant something around it in case it needed protection. I pruned it to the ground and covered it with mulch hoping to give it rest and resuscitation and relief from the sun. A pitiful twig or two poked up through the ground with nothing else to show. No growth. No leaves. No nothing. Summer rocked into fall and I just placed pots of flowers around the spot, to hide the bare place without having to actually dig up the old root and put it in the trash. As we moved into winter, it was finally over and I quit checking.
Winter was full of travel that extended to the middle of March. I finally got home, behind on everything, got to the yard work part of my to do list, and last week met with my landscape friend to choose a couple of replacements for the bare areas. Over here, a butterfly bush please. And over there, I need to replace three crepe myrtles. Then, looking at him with my back to the sad peony spot, I sighed and said, I think another butterfly bush here. Pivoting, I looked down to point my foot. I looked back at him. He looked down and looked up at me.
Mama's peony plant was growing with fervor. It had exploded from the base and there was new growth all along the small stems. It was a growing little ball of green leaved wonder.
I must have gasped and said, no, wait! He just smiled and nodded as I exclaimed this was MY MOTHER'S!
I hadn't noticed. I had quit looking. I had given up on the regrowth, the transplant. I had assumed its apparent death was final. And when I was looking the other way, new life began for that same, different peony bush.