Friday, April 9, 2010

The Violet

“A violet by a mossy stone, half hidden from the eye,
Fair as a star when only one is shining in the sky.”
William Wordsworth

This violet is not by a mossy stone; it’s in our weedy backyard. But a violet is never degraded by the environment in which it finds itself. It always has about it an air of quiet beauty. Maybe it’s the color combination of flower and leaf, the vividness of the purple, the way it’s grounded by the green. Or maybe it’s the way it clusters with its own, as if waiting to be gathered into a bouquet. In the general boisterousness that is spring, the violet is shy and unassuming; it hugs the ground and skirts the edge of woodland trails.
Violets are part of my emotional-horticultural heritage. My mother has always loved them and her mother, my grandmother and namesake, always loved them, too. I have very few of my grandmother’s possessions, but I do have her violet-patterned china cup and saucer set, and I treasure it.
In the universal language that is flowers, the rose stands for love, the daisy stands for innocence, and the violet — for me the violet stands for tenderness and pride. It is the beauty of new life before the world gets to it.


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