In 1983 as a 23 year-old photojournalist I moved into my first house. My wife and I were thrilled for our new adventure.
The first summer a bed in the front yard was filled with ditch lilies. I didn't know anothing about anothing when it came to gardening, but I thought they were beautiful. A couple weeks later this double variety bloomed and I was hooked.
Over the next 15 years we raised a family, and I became obsessed with gardening. The two intertwined beautifully. Every season I was greeted with these pretty orange blooms. Over the years I added more and more plants, created new beds and like all gardeners, made the garden mine.
I never thought I would leave that garden or my home state of Ohio, but the Post-Gazette wanted me to come work for them. It was an opportunity I waited my whole life for, to work at a major metro paper. So I took a giant leap and came to Pittsburgh.
I left Ohio in June of that year, leaving the family behind to sell the house and get our affairs in order. I visited on weekends, leaving the paper Thursday nights at 11 p.m. and making the two hour drive back home. I returned again to the PG at 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Once we found a house here, I started figuring out which plants cold come with me and where would they be planted.
On my last day at my old house I dug what I could, filling my truck with the garden treasures I had accumulated over the years. The double lily was one of those treasures.
It hurt to leave that garden and I couldn't help but take one look back over my shoulder as I drove off.
Just a few days ago I sat in the garden as the sun set, a summer breeze made the oak leaves dance and I saw that lily blooming. To tell you the truth, it's one of the only plants I can remember bringing in the truckload 14 years ago. When I look at those blooms it's a reminder of what seems like another life. The flowers remind me of a hundred different scenes playing out during the evolution of a young family.
Now I hope I'll never have to leave Pittsburgh, one thing for sure, if I do, the unnamed orange lily is coming with me as a reminder of another chapter of life. Flowers have a way of doing that don't they?