beauty in small things
We have a number of peony roses in our garden. Although they are native to Asia, Europe and Western North America, they are now widely grown in this place I call home.
I generally take them for granted, but there was something about the sunshine and shade last night that made this flower stand out.
I was aware that in popular folklore the flower had links to romance, prosperity, good fortune, a happy marriage, riches, honor, and compassion — but peonies can also mean bashfulness.
What I learned yesterday was that the name has two suggested origins, both in Greek mythology. I quote.
"In one, the peony is believed to be named after Paeon, the Greek physician of the gods. According to the legend, Paeon was a student of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. When Paeon used a peony root to heal Pluto — the first time this was tried — Aesculapius became jealous of his talents and tried to kill him. To save Paeon (and show compassion to him), Pluto transformed him into a peony, because he knew it was a flower that people would admire and praise. Thus, one peony meaning is compassion.
In the other myth, the peony is tied to a nymph named Paeonia. Paeonia is beautiful and attracts the attention of Apollo, who begins to flirt with her. When Paeonia realizes that Aphrodite is watching them, she becomes bashful and turns bright red. In anger, Aphrodite transforms the nymph into a red peony. This is how the peony came to symbolize bashfulness"
Whatever the derivation, I love the stories and they add so much to this little beauty - which I love because it lasts for such a short time but gives so much pleasure. So enjoy beauty where you find it! It is a transitory gift.