I took this dramatic photo of my “porte-bonheur” or bringer of happiness. It is the french tradition to give these delicate fragrant white bells, muguet des bois, as a gift to a loved one on the first day of May. I saw them peeking demurely out from their green wrap in the marché and decided I would capture the essence of springtime fleeting and precious as it is, and enjoy them on my table even if my sweetheart were not in this country to give them to me.
My mother’s garden is still a bloom with these acid loving perennials which spread with abandon into the grass or garden as they wish each spring. Every year she offers me some and I have always wished I had a great tree under which to plant them allowing them to spread and grow as in the woodlands of central and northern France. My little terra cotta pot with three plants in it looks a little passé and needs to be planted. I will tuck it into a friend’s garden here in Sauve and add a bit of peat moss perhaps to make it happy in the limestone soil. My french girlfriend received a handpicked bouquet of lily of the valley brought to her by her bon ami up north. I noticed how the leaves encircled each stem of bells yet grew entirely separately, like a man with his arms around his woman, each beautiful in their individual splendor, drawn together by love.