Red Shamrocks: Remembering Ann Paeth
As we were looking at buildings and houses, we spotted this patch of red shamrocks. They were quite lovely and took me by surprise, as I had never seen so many of them in one spot – and outdoors, to boot.
I was reminded of my friend Ann Paeth, who passed away ten years ago, last month. In a way, I felt badly that I had let another year go by where I had forgotten about the anniversary of her death.
While we were dating in graduate school, Ann gave me some of her shamrocks. While I and seen green ones before, I had never encountered red ones.
While these plants were in my care, I have to confess I was never very kind to them. I forgot to water them more than once, and there were several times where all the plants died off. But even when there seemed to be nothing but soil left, I’d continue to water… and the plants would eventually come back.
For many years after, I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. I never got the plants to return to their original fullness, but they stayed alive. Even after my negligence. Even after my inattention. Even after Ann died.
To see so many shamrocks (and red shamrocks to boot) made me feel good, and reminded me of Ann. I am used to seeing these in such small quantities – a single pot, a few stalks. Seeing such lushness, so late in the year, was a lovely thing to encounter. And it surprised me to realize that ten years have gone by, since she passed away.
If you have some time, this post has a recording of Ann reading one of her poems, accompanied by a lovely introduction by our professor, Kathy Fagan.