Chris of Valencia Creek Farms honors hydrangeas. She told me so at her Friday farmers market stand where she, a small woman, was nearly dwarfed by the buckets full of the very large, mostly deep pink globe-like flowers: hydrangeas. It had never occurred to me to honor a flower or a bunch of flowers or a field of flowers. Flowers the size of balls that children happily bounce across schoolyards. Flowers that if you feel downcast do their best to change that. A tender shade of pink my Italian grandmother would have worn.
Chris’s honoring of the hydrangeas she grows made me think about the idea of honoring, the experience of doing so. What do I honor? Poetry and love. Fairness and justice. Kindness and memory. The imagination. Art in all its forms. The natural world. Museums and libraries. Friendship and peace. Solitude and silence. Relationships between animals and humans. Personal histories and the telling of stories. And now, thanks to Chris, her flowers and the two bunches I brought home to arrange in a tall vase as she instructed me to, “by stacking them,” I honor hydrangeas. And you?