The screensaver image of these beauties greeted me this morning as I walked past my computer. They are a bittersweet memory of my youth.
Lilies of the valley surrounded my childhood home. The pure white flowers and the unblemished green leaves marked the arrival of spring with a message that all things beautiful; all things new; all things fragrant are not innocent. The berry of the lily is poisonous, as I was warned time and again.
Grandmother would tell the same story every year during Holy Week. She referred to the flower as Our Lady’s tears; the tears that Mother Mary shed during the crucifixion of our Lord. Busha (Polish for grandmother) said that Mary’s tears caused these lilies to bloom. And so it was, year after year we would sit on the porch amidst the sweet smells from the little bells as she would weave a story of a mother’s love. Mary was my sweet grandmother’s name.
The tears of Mary linger in my memory today as I await the month of May.