I recently posted on my social media sights about some gorgeous peonies that just started blooming in my garden. Every summer on my parents’ farm, I saw these beautiful flowers burst open. Tiny ants crawled all over the unopened buds and I waited with anticipation. This stage took way too long, but the long wait made the bloom even more spectacular to my little mind. AND THE BLOOM! These flowers seemed to explode overnight, with layers of cotton candy colored petals that seem way to lush to fit into that tiny sphere that held it tight the day before.

I grew up and moved away from these flowers and made my own home with my husband. I had nearly forgotten these flowers until my parents announced they sold the farm. The farm was my safe haven for 18 years, and my soul longed to keep a piece of it with me. It was off to the shed to find a rusty spade with splintered handle, rough from years of use, but strong with purpose still holding on, and forcefully shoved it into the soil, extracting a piece of the peony bush. This is not an easy transition for a plant. That rusty blade cut through its long-established roots and left pieces of it behind. It moved from it’s predictable space and was dropped into an old ice cream pail with some drips of water, and held onto hope that it may find a home again.

That plant bumped along in our vehicle to the home I shared with my husband and 2 kids. There, it was once again snuggled deeply into warm rich soil and drank up all the water we gave it. It quit blooming as it needed time to push deep roots back into welcoming soil. Soon a third kid was watching it grow and looking for ants on it’s buds. Then life moved again.

Dig. Slice. Heave.

Buds grew silent, roots went deep, as it found a home on the side of my parents’ house, and we left it behind on our move across the country. I was too scared it wouldn’t survive that long of a transplant journey and opted to leave it under its original owner’s care.

Dig. Slice. Heave.

As we resettled back in Manitoba a few years later, my peony plant was on my mind. My parents lovingly lifted it from their home and brought it back to me. I found a spot near our deck to plant it, with hopes that it would continue to find its nourishment deep in the soil as it sent leaves up to the sun, and wouldn’t you know it, it did.

Nearly 4 years after the last transplant, the plant is showing its contentment with dozens of buds and more flowers exploding every day. My soul warms in an unexpected way when I see them. As I posted on social media, I was surprised by a flurry of likes and comments. One friend commented that she saw me in this pink fluffy flower, with our constant moves.

I paused and pondered as I reviewed the names of those who liked the posts. It was the MOST beautiful, varied, incredibly precious variety of friends from nearly EVERY part of my journey and life. Oh, it’s my childhood friend’s mom! Oh, there is that wonderful friend from LBE! Oh, look, that is my kid’s past EA! Oh, and there is my cousin, aunt, niece… Oh, and here is a bunch of people from my past church, and other past church, and other past …. Woah. There is an exquisite, overflowing bouquet of people who have shared a garden with me in some point of the journey. It makes my heart warm today. Who is in your bouquet?