A day to think of mothers — mine, John’s, both dead — and to celebrate one’s own maternity. And I do. My children have been one of the greatest joys of my life. Sometimes I walk around and see this house and its garden as it was when my children were small. They were pretty much free-range. They had 8 acres of our woods and clearings to explore and then continued from there to the lakes, the mountain behind us, and now to Ottawa, Edmonton, and Victoria. Today I thought of them as I encountered snakes in the sunny grass, two tree frogs, and watched violet-green swallows swoop over the garden. These are constants, waited for every spring, and noted with such pleasure. (I know snakes don’t necessarily sound lovely but they are so useful and if you look at them carefully, you can see the beauty in their markings and the elegance in their movement.)

John’s mother brought a tiny crabapple, a seedling or sucker from her own tree, and now it is perhaps 25 feet high, and wide, welcoming — it’s humming with bees today and in the fall, a bear will come for its fruit.

P1100097A clump of sweet-scented white violet which has grown here since 1987 when Vi (short for Violet) Tyner left a bit of it on the seat of my car while I was shopping, its growing conditions noted in her spidery handwriting.

P1100100And remember Oberon, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, asking Puck to bring him ““…a little western flower / Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound / And maidens call it love-in-idleness.” (Act II, Scene 1.) That was the tri-coloured viola or heartsease and I love seeing it growing wild among the new grass:

P1100101In herbal lore, it is associated with happy memories summoned to ease the heartbreak of separation. No heartbreak here but a kind of thoughtfulness. Where have the years gone? Why did I keep hearing children at play in the woods while I planted savoy cabbages and weeded the salad patch?

3 thoughts on “heartsease”

  1. Achingly beautiful. I’ve not had time to think of my own mother today, but now I will. A cutting I took ten years ago from her giant raspberry bush, which has been in bad shape at the back and nearly died, is flourishing this year. They’re always with us, aren’t they?

    1. Oh, they’re always with us — that’s certain. Our hands, our bodies, our faces, and fleeting glimpses in our own children (a smile, the shape of eyes) and in a few months I might be able to comment about grandchildren too!

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