The memory of walking up the steps to my great-grandmother’s bungalow as a young girl is still vivid to me now. Every summer the wide, cement porch railing would be filled with geraniums. The lush greenery topped with clusters of brightly colored flowers waved in the warm air. Geraniums mean welcome to me.
I have a dream of going to Italy. One day. One day. In all of the pictures I see of Italy, there they are. The trailing, fiery red blooms hugging ancient stones and leading the way to the cucina door. Geraniums. Geraniums mean home to me.
I gathered them at the farmer’s market years ago. These are maybe five years old. They have grown and become enormous specimens. They have followed us on our adventures and hog the south window. They wait for late spring like I do to be set back out on the porch. Geraniums mean sit a spell and relax to me.
Today is our wedding anniversary. I heard him sneak out of the house at 4:00 am. Past the geraniums that were still asleep, but I was not. He drove all over town looking for a place that was open so he could bring me flowers before heading to work at five. He says I have made this house a home. Our forever home. I have filled it with flowers and unusual plants. Poinsettias bloom red in the windows. Towering aloes and tiny bamboo. I want to make this house a home to him because he has made it home for me.
As he approaches the door after a day of work and passes the pots of geraniums I hope they speak of home. When guests arrive and marvel at their display of bright pinks and romantic reds, I hope they feel welcome. One day we will travel to Italy and see the geraniums and think of ours at home. We shall sit on the porch and count our blessings, sweet tea in hand, and watch as the geraniums reach for the sun and glimmer in the summer day. And when I am passed, I hope the sight of geraniums reminds my grandchildren of climbing the steps to a place they were loved. Geraniums mean love.