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White Peonies

Peonies in blue bowl

The peony, a very old emblem of China, has a role in European mythology as well, for the ancient Greeks named the flower after Paeon, one of Asclepius’s students. Asclepius, the god of medicine, grew jealous of his pupil and would have killed him, had not Zeus saved him by turning him into the peony flower —  a curious kind of salvation. But the record is confused. Paeon appears as a great healer in the Iliad and Hesiod counts him among the gods. Fortunately,  we have the flower itself. Peonies are gorgeous, the large blossoms suggest abundance and their scent is as lush as the blossom. That’s enough.

More Notes

The World Happiness Report, released by the United Nations, ranks countries on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. This year, Finland is first, followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland, followed by Netherlands, Canada,New Zealand, Sweden, Australia. The United States, which has never been in the top ten, silpped down four places from last year and is now 18th. President Trump may make American Great Again, but apparently not happier.