May's paper flower is the sweet pea

Posted by Charlotte Vaughan on

It is May and the time to unveil my paper flower of the month.These are strange times and I wanted to choose a bloom that reflected the mood and moment.

It has been six weeks now that we in France are in lock-down. My teenage daughters and I have remained the entire time in the enclave of our home. Only Jon has left, once a week, to shop for us and a neighbour.

My world has been a protected and privileged one, secure in the confines of my garden, its birdsong and sweet smells of spring lilac and lily of the valley. To sit concentrating on the watercolour paint spreading into the crepe paper and cutting out petals is to be transported from a real-world of fear and pain.

Sleep is disturbed and filled with strange colourful dreams that translate into an undefined uneasy wakefulness. My father and aunt, both in their eighties, are alone in their separate homes in a different country, we talk in a disembodied way across the airwaves, unreal and I just have to hope that they remain out of danger.

Of the reality of Covid-19, I watch the news, this terrible sickness, families ripped into shreds by their grief which they cannot assuage and the heart-wrenching decisions of the medical professionals which they have to affront like an unending tsunami. I sit in my sunny garden, feel inadequate and guilty.

When we finally emerge from our bunkers, blinking into the sunlight, the unknown must be borne bravely. I am keeping my imagination firmly in my pockets for what comes next; I am too much of a coward to look it straight in the face.

So, to this May flower...delicate to reflect our bruised humanity but above all, it must bring hope and light, the things that makes man good.Here are my sweet peas; fragile, bursting with colour and rising resolutely from the earth.In the language of flowers, the sweet pea has a bittersweet meaning; it is associated with blissful pleasure but also departure.Stay safe.

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