At the back of my parent’s yard was a row of trees. I’m not sure why they were put there but they delineated the boundary between their yard and the dirt road that ran back to the Rescue Squad. At the base of one of these trees was a great big ole entanglement of vines. I’m not exactly sure how the vine got around this one tree and not the others, but back behind this clump, across the dirt road, was a hundred foot long blanket of this stuff that covered the ground all the way up to the edge of the pine thicket we just referred to as “the woods”.
For a large portion of the year these vines were nothing more than that…. just vines, appearing to consume everything in their way as the crept out from some undefined core in every direction possible. But this time of year, very small, very fragrant blossoms start appearing…
The smell of honeysuckle let me know that spring was here and summer wasn’t very far behind. I can remember walking out the front door of my parents house and the fragrance of those flowers filled the air from quite a distance behind the house. I use to pull the little flowers off and pinch the end off, pulling out the little string like part that contained the little dew-like droplet that was so sweet on my tongue.
Then summer arrives… and I’m at my grandmother’s house… I open the back door… it is a hot, humid July afternoon. The air is dead still and the weight of the moisture in the air makes it feel like you are walking through knee-deep mud in a sauna. As the door opens, the fragrance is so strong it almost knocks you right back into the house. The blooms on the gardenia bush are brilliantly white and sending enough fragrance into the air to fill the nostrils of people 4 blocks away even without the benefit of a breeze to carry it along.
Every time one of these fragrances appear in my life, I can’t help but go back to those places. I was fortunate enough to catch a sniff of honeysuckle last Saturday…. ahhh…. springtime! Can’t wait for the gardenias to show up!