At night I see her from my bedroom window. Looking down into the garden, I watch as she slowly exits the house, quietly moves down the flagstone path to the marble bench glowing in the moonlight. She painfully lowers herself to the bench and sits surrounded by beds of lavender.
During WWII she was stationed in Central France where fields of lavender bloom bluest of any on earth. She and her husband met in the Resistance, managing a safe house which was surrounded by woods, orchards, and fields of lavender. The lavender permeated her life from the moment they met. Refugees hidden then transferred to a safer place, lives lost and saved, a daughter conceived, and finally her husband dying, all took place within the fields of lavender. After the war, she immigrated to the U.S. bringing only two items with her: their daughter, and rootings of lavender.
She says the lavender brings her consolation in sadness and gives her strength when the world tries to break her. One whiff of its fragrance and she is transported back to the old French farmhouse with her husband beside her, captivated by their love and full of plans for the future. Their dream is of a new life in America where they will raise a family in the midst of another field of blue lavender.
And now she is fulfilling this dream. Sitting on the bench, surrounded by a sea of blue blossoms, she smiles as she counts the blessings that are hers. Each stalk of lavender holds hundreds of buds, each bud contains a memory. She bequeaths these memories to the granddaughter who lives with her, who helps concoct poultices, potpourri, coffee, and teas from the lavender.
Eyes closed, she lifts her head to the stars, breathes in deeply, then smiles, content.
I silently blow a kiss to the scene below, then lie down for the night. Placing sprigs of lavender beneath my pillow I dream of my grandmother in a field of blue, and awaken with tears in my eyes and the subtle scent of lavender forever in my heart.
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