For a short time in spring, simple joy can be found in a bright orange flower that rises gracefully from a feathery stalk, turns its brilliant face to the sun and dances in the wind no more than 10 steps from my back door. Fragile, but fearless, the flowers return year after year....seeding themselves into a bigger and bigger patch, sometimes blooming only a day if the vicious Nebraska wind has it's way with them. These are the flowers of my childhood. They stood tall and strong and beautiful, a few short steps from my Grandmother's back door also. She'd help me pick one for her favorite vase that now sits on my table, before the wind scattered their petals across the county. This is my favorite time of year...misty cool mornings, short sleeve afternoons and nights spent sleeping with the windows open. Poppy weather, she would call these days. Wind dancers, she would call these flowers. Oriental poppy folklore is varied, but the delicate flowers have been known to signify strength, faith, fertility and tranquility. Spending time amongst these tiny wind dancers teaches you much about what's important in the world. It reminds you that gardening is truly a matter of faith. It teaches you that life is short, and we should all bloom gloriously where we are planted! Here's wishing that some of the poppy petals from my garden land in yours!