Faith, Gardening, life, Parenting, relationships, Uncategorized
Comments 18

Wonder…Have you seen a Poppy Pop?

{One of my most popular posts — originally published, June 24, 2011}

She’ll miss the poppies this year.

My daughter is living in San Francisco for five weeks this summer, spending glorious California days in an urban dance studio, pursuing her passion. She’ll miss the backyard show I love so much. June, my birth month, gives to me all I want: roses, peonies, iris, daisies, columbine and poppies.

I admire my garden’s glorious defiance against our long Northwest winters as she comes into full rebellious bloom, flaunting her petaled skirts and flying her colors like a gypsy caravan. I visit her in the mornings and we spend a few moments together before I catch the whirlwind train that is my life. She’s all dewy and scented and soft; I have my coffee steaming in my face, warming my hands, gently waking me.

The day before the dancer flew away, one poppy was beginning to lose its spiked armor and a bit of fire peeked through the crack.


“Have you ever seen a poppy pop?” the dancer asked me.

“No. I’ve seen them just about to and I’ve seen them fully open. Maybe I should sit and watch sometime.”

Poppies don’t unfurl demurely, as the rose, or uncurl like the clematis and daisy. Poppies flash and pop and flare their skirts like flamenco dancers. They sail on wind and hold the thunderstorm rains with gentle hands. They surprise.

Poppies don’t wait or tarry or flirt. When I pass an urban lot whose house has disappeared and I see the vestige of a garden, an old gnarled lilac or a swath of orange poppies, I slow the car and appreciate. Tenacious and feisty pops of color in a sea of green weeds.

Poppies are opportunistic. They hurl themselves at the June sun and lay open in the drenching rains. Perhaps their insensibility contributes to their brevity, but it makes me love them all the more. The carpe diem of the flower bed, they live, make their mark and earn their place in my garden by sheer willpower and blustery aplomb.

I live with my children, but somehow, that exact, specific second when they come into fullness of being escapes my observation. I am unskilled at noticing. Oh, but I admire them. My children who don’t have my hair color, whose almond eyes are black-brown fires of life burst onto the scene with energy and leave me breathless, grateful. Always grateful.

Wonder…Have you ever seen a poppy pop?









  1. Coming from The Gypsy Mama. Wow, you have a beautiful way with words. From now on I will pay more attention to poppies.

    • Thank you, Katrina. πŸ™‚ I love finding little truths and wonderment from observing nature. It helps me see everything from a bit different perspective.

  2. Grace Walker says

    Ooo, I love this! You should link it up with Sunday Scribblings! Our prompt this week was ‘opportunity’ and this would fit right in. Go here:
    I love seeing the poppies, too. i don’t have any, but many of my neighbors do. Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks, I’m planning on perusing the Gypsy Mama link up posts while everyone in my house is sleeping so I can enjoy the contributions. Thanks for stopping πŸ™‚

  3. I have only been successful with poppies one year. I really enjoyed their bright colors and crepe paper blooms.
    I love a good gardening post!

    • Some poppies (like Shirley poppies) are fussy and in some places they are annuals. Mine are the old fashioned orange variety — I dug them out of my neighbor’s extra lot (with permission) along with about a dozen peonies. Then, I moved them to my new yard ten years ago — I love how the petals are stuffed in those pokey pods like a little kid fairy did that job (and wasn’t much of a perfectionist πŸ™‚ ) blessings!

  4. How beautiful are these poppies!!!! Love your words and the pictures are amazing!!! See…you had me wondering like a child, not an adult:)! Thanks for that!!! I do not have poppies, but I do have Columbines and irises in my Spring “show”. The Columbines are still thriving! Have a great evening and I am so glad you participated in Five Minute Friday!

  5. I have never seen a poppy pop and was unaware they did so. Now I want to watch. πŸ™‚ I love the description of your garden.

    • πŸ™‚ My husband claims to have heard one pop, but I have not heard or seen it myself — only witnessed proof that it happened! Thanks for coming by. Blessings.

  6. oh, this is gorgeous writing… i am so glad to have ‘met’ you, friend… i love your description of her, of your dancer, and of your garden, and of the poppies popping…

  7. Such an insightful post, Alyssa. I greatly appreciate your poetic style of writing. You’re so right: we do tend to miss that exact moment when our children come into fullness. I was able to identify the transformation of the parent/child relationship to friend/friend relationship as our older son reached his mid-twenties. I wrote about it on my blog: ( ). But that experience was really equivalent to just one petal!!

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