This week the first poppy bloomed on Eighty Acres, and with it came a rush of memories from my past. Through my child's eyes I remembered memorial day weekends when veterans dressed so smartly in crisp uniforms, stood by the store doorways asking me to buy a red paper poppy. I had no idea why anyone would buy a paper poppy and often tried to hurry past them and avoid eye contact. But my father always stopped, bought a paper poppy and proudly wore it on his hat. Then there was The Wizard of Oz movie when Dorothy ran through the poppy field and fell asleep before she could reach the castle. Why would poppies make her sleep? And why did we celebrate the return of the poppies in my mother's garden each year? Did poppies deserve more respect than any other flower? Yes. Old memories always lurking like shadows in my mind. But today I will set those shadows aside and simply enjoy the beauty of the first poppy on Eighty Acres. Its paper-like delicate petals, star shaped yellow seeds and hair-like green stem. Today I will make a new memory and quietly thank the Earth Mother for her gift.