Each of us carry a legacy in our hearts and lives. It might be the smells that waft out of the kitchen as you bake the family cookie recipe, or when you look in the mirror and see how your nose turns up a little at the end, or in the sound of your voice as you soothe your baby to sleep with the same folk song that your grandmother used to hum to you. And you smile. You smile daily at all of these things and more. Because they are a legacy of love and a legacy that you perpetuate. A legacy that will live on through generations.
I come from a long line of strong women. Women who are wild and free. Women who have tan skin, are a little weathered around the edges and would rather spend a day in the garden than anywhere else.
Every year, the voice of these women speak to me in the form of flowers and birds and wild things.
Every year the pansises dancing on my front porch are a testament to my Grandmom. Every year, from April to June, her carefully tended pots of purple pansies greeted friends and neighbors with a cheerful hello from her front porch. And now mine do the same.
And the mountain laurel, delicate and strange, calls my Grandmother's name in the dappled afternoon sun. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with our house. The first time we pulled into the driveway the mountain laurel greeted us and whispered, "home".
And now, dog tooth violets, which pop up carefully in between my raspberry bushes. I didn't know they would remind me of my grandmother, I didn't even know what they were. Until one day, I sent a picture to my mom and asked if she recognized them and stories of her childhood came pouring out and I learned my grandmother loved dog tooth violets. And now I treasure these little yellow wonders.
Lilacs, sweet and fragrant, grew right outside our kitchen window when I was little (they still do). And the scent will always take me back. The scent is home. My mom still fills the house with bunches and bunches of fragrant lilacs every spring. And lilacs speak to me of happy days spent with her. Of childhood wonder and youthful joy.
The fragrance of the lilacs is surpassed only by the sweetness of lily of the valley. My mom fills vases and jars and bottles with these delicate beauties and every spring I think of her as our side yard fills with their fragrant beauty. It makes me yearn to go home, sit at the kitchen table and sip tea as the fragrance floats around us. But I settle for a phone call - letting her know my lily of the valley is blooming. That it's become part of her legacy and will be part of mine as well.
And then there are violets, though little and unassuming, they, perhaps, have the loudest voice of all. My mom picked violets for my grandmother and I picked violets for my mom... and I am sure the tradition will continue. Violets grow wild throughout our yard and every year from late April to Mid May I don't let Mike mow the grass...so that I can enjoy thousands of violets that decorate our (overgrown) lawn. And hear their sweet voice whisper love. cherish. remember.
And I love that there are new stories being written. Like how my mom comes to visit every year and plant my garden with me.
New stories that I will pass onto our children some day. How on one of those visits, my mom came running, because I had a flowering quince in the side yard. A flowering bush I didn't even know I loved until that day. And now I can't wait to see it burst in a riot of gentle magenta every year and think of her smile.
How columbine has quickly become one of my garden favorites and I wait for it's gentle bloom every single year.
That lupine, foxglove and snap dragons are some of my favorite garden friends.
That I will always love dahlias, poppies and morning glory.
Yes, we all hold the women in our lives in high esteem and are reminded of them each and every day by simple things. Simple little things that bring us joy.
Every spring, my flowers quietly whisper, "Forget Me Not."
And I never will.