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Yesterday I splurged on a bouquet of peonies and proceeded to fall completely in love with them when I got home.  I have never before spent so much time gazing at and inhaling the scent of these splendid flowers.  I cultivated my new love through the lens of my camera.  Some days the abundance I find in words and images is enough to break my heart wide open.

What has broken your heart open this day?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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12 Responses

  1. These peonies in the light look like clouds of color! Breathtaking. You really do photography from the heart.

  2. Thank you for the reminder to relax and enjoy life more. This poem and your photos found me in the midst of stress and conflict today. Coming to your blog today felt like respite.

  3. what an amazingly beautiful essay. the intricacies of nature break my heart open. poppies are my favorites (at least for the moment :-)

  4. Cool – my peonies are still tight-fisted green balls at the moment. Can’t wait for the glory!

  5. These photographs are absolutely beautiful. And isn’t it wonderful how poems arrive in our lives at just the right time.
    These images reminded me of one thing that keeps my heart open: how every living thing is complete in and of itself but at the same time, part of all life. Boundaries and merging at the same time.

  6. Next to lilacs, peonies are absolutely my favorite flowers! I’m with Bette…your gifts of photography and sharing resources like Mary Oliver’s beautiful words have broken my heart wide open. Today, I saw the first peonies in blossom…a beautiful white/pink plant that just spoke peace and glory! What a fitting “closure” to my Immersion weekend too! The need to just be and to experience peace were big for me this weekend. Looking at a peony, inhaling it’s sweetness, witnessing the ants…more opportunities to just be! –Karla

  7. Thank you Bette, I am so glad to share this with you. I have been so very moved by these flowers with their dense clusters of soft petals and their delicate fragrance. I took over 200 photos and at least half of them turned out really well. Such a gift. And thank you for the gift of you! :-)

  8. i had a so-so day, finding myself whining and not feeling appreciated much. . . and then i came to your blog and my heart broke wide open over your blessed peony photos and Mary Oliver’s poem. . . and i was reminded that God only asks one simple thing of us — to just love and love and love. . . to just keep loving others. . . like your photos. . . one by one. you were meant to fall in love with those peonies today and i’m glad you did.