Today I rushed after work to get some pictures of the peonies at the garden next to the library. My husband, who knew of my plans, surprised me there, as he was apt to do in the our early days. He informed some of the other visitors to the garden, “I’m having an affair with her.”
After I’d been dating him for five years, he gave me the gift of a red Valentine’s Day bag from a store where I worked in the mid 90’s. The bag looked just like the ones we offered in the jewelry department back then. He told me, “This was the bag you gave me when you sold me my garnet ring.”
He’d kept that bag for twelve years before I started dating him. When I mentioned that I’d worked at that store, he told me, “You were the girl with purple hair who worked at Service Merchandise.”
So far this has been a disappointing year for peonies. From curbside, they look lush, unless they have stumbled to the ground because of heavy rain. Up close, they are burnt on random petals because of late frosts this year. I took some peony pictures earlier this week, but the light let me down. I put the best of a middling bunch of captures through the presets at Aviary.com, and these were the versions I liked best.
The should-haves of living drift ever deeper. The more time I’ve devoted to nature photography, the greater my regret that I once dropped out of a college class on tree and shrub identification. If I had fully endured this class, I wouldn’t have taken three days to identify the flowering tree I spotted on Saturday. It is a pink horse chestnut.
Back then, the crystal-meth grade energy of my 72-year-old biology professor exhausted me. The thought of him waking daily at 4 am to inventory the velutinous or toothed leaves within 100 paces of his home intimated that my life was one of utter dissipation in comparison. To achieve his level of dedication to anything and then sustain it for 52 additional years was a possibility I could not countenance.
While I wish I hadn’t taken his example as an indictment of my opposite inertia (I was to stay at rest for quite some time after that), I do relish the process of finding out the names of various flowers and trees I’ve photographed. Maybe the reason I withdrew was far more simple. Revelation bit by bit suits me best.