Hydrangeas on Block Island, 1988
Image by Joanne Bergenwall,
licensed under Wikimedia Commons
Blooms began to give way to age
as summer heat set in, bushes and
hedges of hydrangea, a veritable
fantasy of violet on the small island.
The guys were gigging there and I
was large with Riley, up early each
morning to watch blossoms adorning
the pathway to town. I walked down
to the gate and set out around the block
taking stock of purple bunches, hung
on branches like ornaments. The most
lovely stage of the hydrangea is in its
swan song: Faded to a pinkish hue as
crisp brown edges form, they look like
the silk inside of my Grandma’s purse.
Violet, you were never lovelier than
that summer, me in full childbearing
bloom, you holding on long enough
to strut your stuff and bring me peace
before the band awoke, grumbling.
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Riley’s father had a gig on Block Island, just off the coast of Rhode Island. I skipped a lot of the performances, preferring to sit on a rocker on the front porch and talk to our hostess about our baby to be. We’d watch as an elbow or foot almost punched through my thin summer dress, chatting. We spoke of the bushes, and violet was the choice of everyone on her block. In Alice Walker’s novel, The Color Purple, the character Shug declared, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” I think she was onto something.
This was for Kim Nelson’s “violet” prompt at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. During my meditation today, I was whisked back in time, when I was in as full a bloom as the flowers. Peace, Amy