La Pivoine

Peonies are so operatic. Their foliage in spring, arches out of the ground, and the show begins, sotto vocce, but you know behind that bronzed fan is a diva coyly preparing to take center stage. Soon, buds appear out of nowhere and quickly begin to swell, building like the crescendo of an aria. Unfailingly every year you marvel at their density, you stare, mesmerized at the ants that crawl all over them and you promise yourself that you must not miss the drama of their blooms erupting.

And then the star turn is in full tilt, you can't take your eyes of them, their color and shape hog your attention. When you don't look, their scent calls, and makes you stop what you're doing, close your eyes and take in a little more. You whisk some home and they draw a perfumed circle in your apartment that stops you in your tracks everytime you step into it's heady perimeter.

One look at them, and you think of opium dens, silk cheongsams, crimson velvet flock wallpapered boudoirs. Next week they will be inconsolable, their blowsy heads bent with grief, their feet scattered with their tattered robes as they wail their swansong. Rapturous applause ensues for another bravura performance.

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