May 27, 2012

Gloucester, MA. May, 2005

How do they know? How are they able to pop exactly on Memorial Day each year, even when the date changes to accommodate the shifting last Monday of May? But somehow they do. Our Gloucester garden has a section of bright poppies that bud mid-May and then wait patiently, gathering steam and purpose, until they explode to our great delight. The earlier-appearing artificial lapel-sized ones sold to aid veterans’ causes are simply a tease, a reminder of the outside riot to come. And! They never fail to disappoint. Long a symbol of sleep (because of the association with opium poppies) and death (because of their blood-red color), these connotations were well known to the Wicked Witch of the West. Another association with the poppy (one not lost on Glinda) is the promise of resurrection after death. Especially benevolent at the end of May when a long Massachusetts winter is (in most but not all cases) finally over.

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