Yesterday morning I walked around the front corner of my house, past the “Cousin It” tree (my descriptive name for our Weeping Fruitless Mulberry), under the red plum tree and over to the water spigot.  As I reached down to turn on the water, my eyes beheld a nearly hidden treasure.

Several slender stalks bent by the weight of tiny white bells had emerged from the green undergrowth beneath the red plum tree. I quietly gasped at their beauty and instantly thought of my mother.

Lily of the Valley was her favorite flower. She carried a bouquet of them in her wedding. These particular flowers under our tree, Les had carefully dug up and placed in plastic containers for us to transport all the way from my parents’ cabin in northern Michigan to our home here in Omaha, NE. We wanted a tangible memory of her and our times spent together up at Hubbard Lake. That was 17 years ago this August.

Yesterday, May 6, was my mother’s birthday. She would have been 77. Of course that wasn’t on my mind when I went walking across the front yard to turn on the water. But that visual instantly brought her to mind. I decided to take a photo of the little flower and as I went into the house to get my camera, a song my mother used to sing popped into my head.

My mother was an elementary school music teacher and she knew every song that was ever written, it seemed to me! We’d be having a conversation while driving in the car and she’d start singing a song with lyrics that matched the topic! We’d pass a train and hear “Little Red Caboose” with chug chugs and all!

That was fun when we were little, but fell into the ‘most embarrassing’ category once we were a bit older!

I smile as I recall her sense of humor and teasing delight as she knew it horrified us to have her sing that way, especially if our friends were around! She didn’t let us squelch her fun! She just chuckled and sang louder!

I could still hear my mother’s lovely voice in my mind singing this song to me, and now I was singing the song with her under my breath as I took the pictures posted here.

“White coral bells, upon a slender stalk

Lilies-of-the-Valley deck my garden walk.

Oh, don’t you wish, that you could hear them ring?

That can happen only when the fairies sing.”

I don’t believe in fairies any more than I believe in the Easter Bunny, but I do love this song and the magical feeling it stirs in me. For to look at the tender little shoots laden with delicate bells is to look at beauty perfected. It is to see the hand of God, who created the universe, yet took the time to determine every minute detail, down to the tiny scalloped edges.

I don’t believe in coincidences either. I woke up yesterday knowing that it was my mother’s birthday. I honored her in my heart by thinking about her and savoring memories of her beautiful life and her legacy that lives on in me. It wasn’t a coincidence that I’d notice these lilies and be blessed with another treasured memory of her on the day of her birth, in May. Memories of my mother line the walk of the garden in my mind. They are the lilies in my life. The song in my heart.

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10 Responses to “lilies”

  1. Wanda Says:

    I love Lily of the Valley also. I think they have the most delicious fragrance and if I catch a whiff of them on a summer breeze it makes me simply melt. Jessica McClintock has tried to capture their essence in one of her perfumes. I have planted them twice before but I have never been able to get them to grow. I am very disappointed and hope to try again with another spot in the garden. Thank you for sharing your picutes. I can almost smell them:>)

  2. Suzi Says:

    My favorite flower has always been the Lily of the Valley. When I was growing up my
    mom showed me where they were on the side of our house and told me that these were my flowers because they were for people that had a May birthday. My little ones and I moved into our own house in the last year. A few weeks ago I noticed these beautiful little white bells growing amidst the thick ferns that in my backyard. I shared them and my memories of them with my children. I know this was not a coincidence either.

    Thank you for your wonderful message on dreams. It was very timely for me. And thank you to Bailey for an incredible song that I want recorded so I can hear it over and over. It hit home a bunch.

  3. Lana Dawson Says:

    Yes… they are beautiful!God is so good to know what would be dear to our hearts and know just would bless us!
    My mother’s birthday was May 16th. She would have been 75. Thank you for sharing… It reminded me that her birthday is coming up. I am thankful for her gentle heart!

  4. Denise Says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of your mother. I’m going to go home and give my mother a big hug!

    I went to the Mother’s Day service and was in awe of your daughter’s voice. Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your “dreams” journey with us all.

  5. Amy Dempsey Says:

    One of my favorites. My Grandma Bea always had Lily of the Valley in her garden. Thank you for sharing the song your mother sang to you. Lily of the Valley is called the ladder to heaven, the symbol of Hope.

  6. Jeri Anderson Says:

    You take amazing pictures and I love looking at pictures while reading! You have a gift that I’m thankful you are willing to share. It encourges me to treasure the little things, the moments God gives us that we often miss if we are not listening or looking. I’m slowing down and asking God to give me ears to hear and eyes to see all that He has for me.
    So happy you are feeling better than ever.

  7. Nicolette Says:

    O.K., true confessions. I just ran up the stairs and out the door to my side garden to see if the Lily of the Valley have bloomed only to be left wondering if they are Lily of the Valley after all! I am constantly mooching perrenials from other people’s gardens, and now I am wondering what these are. The leaves look similar but thinned out. Maybe it’s because this is their first year. I enjoyed your photos and your entry today immediately brought me back to childhood memories as well. Thanks!

  8. Claudia Kaser Says:

    I LOVE lily of the valley! I also have a May birthday, so they’ve always been one of my very favorite flowers! I don’t know the little song your mom sang – I’m going to have to ask my mom if she knows it. Your blog today was a delight, and the photos beautiful! I’ve cut a few of my lily of the valley – the fragrance is wonderful!

    P.S. Do you have any idea how many of us you are currently ‘mentoring’ with your blogs? Hugs!

  9. Jennifer Says:

    Beautiful and God is so good to us, even when we are walking unaware of His continued presence and wanting to bless us.

  10. angie williams Says:

    More precious than gold. I love you.

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