Do you ever see something that is very much part of your day to day environment that transports you to another place and time?
I saw these pansies planted in the street by my local council and immediately thought of my Scottish grandmother.
She was a disciplinarian, often inflexible and lacking in humour, someone to be feared and revered in equal measure, but she loved her pansies.
My Grandma lived in a council flat. The kitchen looked onto the railway line. All day and night you heard the sound of the trains as they trundled up to Edinburgh.
The buildings were grey. The streets were greyer. It was an imposing world. There were few gardens. Even fewer trees. Even as a child I understood why people drank too much or forgot how to smile. We need colour to pull us out of the shadows.
My Grandma innately understood this. Hers was the only flat in the block with window boxes. She filled them with pansies, marigolds, anything bright and jolly. She pulled the boxes inside on cold nights, watered them with care. I suspect when no one was around she sang to them.
Over time people began to comment on them.
Many people got window boxes of their own. My Grandma’s block stood out like a beacon of a better life amidst the concrete blanched by frost and despair.
I’ll never forget those pansies.
Seeing them in the street the other day made me realise that the things that shape us are always tucked away in our psyche, they are always a part of us.
And that even now in the immediate present they can be recalled just like that, reconnecting us to the past.
Jolly pots of colour. So simple. So beautiful.
Making me smile.
*I have written a post on editing your writing at A Novel Place.
I’d love to see you there.