Ode to Spring and Welcome

Though I complain about the pollen that turns everything an interesting shade of yellow or green and has my nose and sinuses on the run, little can lift my spirits from the quiet contemplative state of winter like the appearance of the blossoms in the spring.  The glimpse of beauty bursting open, seemingly from out of nowhere touches my heart and gives me hope.  If beauty can come from what once looked like an old dead stick, well, you can see where my heart takes that.

In an effort to share just a bit of joy with you all, I offer you these glimpses I’ve had of such beauty in the past few days.

 

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From my Bradford pear–good gravy, I do love those Bradford pears.  They are such wonderful divas, so full of color as the fall comes–their glossy dark green dresses turning all shades of autumn.  So beautiful that one might think them spent until the following fall.  But no, they come out of the slumber of winter all dressed for the dance in their finest ball gowns of white…..

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with a tinge of pink.

 

 

 

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And then’s there’s the Loropetalum.  So dainty and exotic looking all at the same time.  Glorious color everywhere!  She greets me and all who come with her beauty and colorful blooms and leaves.

 

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Oh me.  My very favorites.  The tea olive, offering up the finest scent from its tiny cluster of blossoms.  I once told my Daddy, who had planted the very first one I’d ever met at the corner of the house at Blackberry Flats, that the fragrance from the tea olive was what I hoped Heaven smelled like.  It was love at first sniff.  I have one by each door into my house, and I often finding myself stopping and taking time to smell the tea olives.  Be forewarned, if I’m around one and you are with me, I will make you ask you to smell it.  Because when I experience beauty that touches me to my very core, I might just feel compelled to share it with all who cross my path.  So it is with the tea olive.  We planted one out at the cemetery on Daddy’s first birthday after he left this world.  I love that I can go out there and catch the delicate perfection that is the scent of the tea olive, while my Daddy is experiencing the real thing firsthand.

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My little guy and I visited Wesleyan, my alma mater, last Thursday evening.  The cherry blossoms were in full force, just in time for the opening of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  This group of beautiful trees stands close, tucked away behind Candler Alumnae building.

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As we walked through the trees, I remembered an evening just about twenty-five years ago exactly, when I had made myself a sandwich in my room and walked out to sit on that bench at dusk and contemplate the changes that were about to come in six weeks and some odd days–graduation and all that followed.  It was the “all that followed” that I wasn’t very sure about.  It scared me, but I remember finding peace and hope sitting there, hidden and protected by the umbrella of blossoms.

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Oh and the Geese.  On front campus.  They aren’t the friendliest of sorts, much like other creatures we are starting to see as the weather becomes a little less frigid.  And I realize they aren’t really signs of spring, but they always make me smile and I am reminded that I am not alone.

 

May you all find something that ignites the hope that lies deep within you.  And may it open and blossom just like the buds on the Bradford pear, the grande dame of the seasons herself.

Love and hope to all.

 

the smell of love

today

I put a load of laundry in the washer

No ordinary load

of jeans and shirts and socks soon to be lost

There were towels

all of them from home

the home before this one

That place where I grew up

They were hers

Silly how the towels are like old friends to me,

isn’t it?

I know their stories and how they came to be hers

The green one, that chartreuse one,

the shade she could hardly bear,

came from her Aunt who shared my taste in color

Mama always set it out for me to use

when I was there

showering

with the pipes squawking in protest

and the water pressure a fair weather friend at times

The blue one, a lovely shade of nearly denim,

she got for herself when she decided to go with blue

in her own small bathroom

The fluffy white floor mat

I love the feel of it

I don’t know where it will go in my home

I only know

it must

Ahh, the handtowels…..

not sure how we got started on those

but there they are

so many now

for all the seasons and in so many colors

We gave her many of them

at different times

just because

Christmas, winter, spring, Easter, summer, 4th of July,

fall, Harvest, pumpkins, Thanksgiving–

all fingertip towel sized

She liked that size for the little hands

she was so happy to help wash

as the little feet stood on the stool their Cap had made

to give them a leg up in life

The little hands she was so thrilled to hold

to help turn pages

to show how to hold a pencil, scissors, a spoon, and a knife

(though I wasn’t supposed to know about that last one)

As I dropped them gently into the washer

one fell to the floor

I bent over and picked it up

and I held it to my face for a moment

The tears were instant

That smell, the smell of home,

took me off guard

That smell that will always be home,

be her

I wish I could tuck it in a drawer and

keep it forever

a smell that could never be used up

that could always bring back the feelings that come

when I remember

home.

her.

love.

 

the towels have been washed and dried now

they will be loved in a new way in my own home

and the old smell has likely already faded

I fold them

just like she taught me

standing by that table in our dining room/den

folding and putting them away

so we could sit down and eat

the supper she had cooked

and set on the table

love

the smell of love

 

What Does January Smell Like?

To embrace the seasons, since about October, I have enjoyed a scented candle from time to time.  I have had two big jar candles that I have alternated, depending on my mood that echo the sounds of the seasons, except you know, they smell like the seasons–a Maple Bacon (yes, I’m for real, and it is wonderful!) and a Gingerbread.  I just love the warm, vibrant, comforting scents of the fall and Christmas.

The sad end of my Gingerbread candle

The sad end of my Gingerbread candle

As good as the Maple Bacon smells, the Gingerbread must be my favorite because it, ironically enough, burned completely out last night.  I looked to see if I had another one and found that I do not.  *sigh*  I guess it’s time to let it go, isn’t it?

I love the way the smells trigger memories.  I read somewhere that smell is strongly related to memories.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that certain smells can carry me back in time.  I smell a certain spice, and I think of my Daddy (don’t ask me why).  The smell of a certain lotion brings back hugs and Mama’s hands.  My Great Aunt comes to mind when I smell white Dove soap.  The smell of squash cooking in the summertime carries me back to the summers of my childhood.  The smell after a cool rain in the evenings takes me back to softball fields of my youth.  And so many more.

Today as I was finishing up a knitting project (yes, FINISHING! whoo hoo), I had a Christmas movie on the tv.  Despite the fact that this station is still playing Christmas movies, their advertisers have definitely moved into the New Year.  Not a single “After Christmas sale” advert–but they were abundant in diet and weight loss commercials.  Oh boy.  That makes me nuts.

So yes, January is well on its way, bringing with it a new number to remember when we write the date.  And it also brings with it all kinds of good intentions and pressures to change our ways.  Never mind all that this year (or next, as the case may be).  As I’ve shared before, I’m going to make January all about “Congratulations, you’ve made it!” instead of “How will you change all of your wrong ways about you?”  January and I are not close enough, never have been, for her to be asking me questions like that.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen earlier, I looked at the empty Gingerbread candle jar.  I wondered what scent I would look for now.  Which one?  I mean, really, what does January smell like?  Crisp and clean?  Subtle and light?  Nothing at all?

I have no idea.  But I’m pretty sure it’s not Maple Bacon.  If you have any ideas, please do share.  I have three days left to figure it out.  I’d really like to enter the New Year with light all around me.  I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

Merry Fourth Day of Christmas!  Love and light and good memory-triggering smells to all.