When I was at the farm that day, I found a bridal veil shrub (spirea) against the stone wall. It's a signature spring flower for me. Our pink house in Oak Park was hedged with a porch-wide bank of these out front and on the southern side yard too where the mock orange grew. In the spring, in a good year, the bushes went completely white, the branches massed with tiny blooms spilling over the sidewalk path in a flopsy, careless way that defied pruning or taming. I loved that drenching wildness and remember the girls running up the porch stairs, their hair dotted with the little white petals....just like a bridal veil.
The perfect flowers for children snipping a sprig for a doll or their mother clipping armfuls for a basket, bridal veil stands out as The Flower of that house and time. Scenting the room with the unique bright hope of spring, their little white confetti petals scattered everywhere. Things like that stay with you, like the sound of a certain door opening, the light through a morning window. The shape of that little tiny flower is so pretty, so delicate and strong.
I grew up in Missouri- clear across the state from Joplin. So much of what I love and care about began there in the midwestern countryside. It is magical and true. What anyone in Joplin would give right now for the strength and beauty in a simple flower out front, the laughter of a child playing in a backyard garden. My heart goes out to all who have lost so much. I'll be home again in St. Louis next week for Mary's workshops. I'm thinking about something we can do together for Joplin. I'll keep you posted on that.