Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The Smell of Summer without the Car
Yesterday, I had one of those days where I refused to get in the car. I watered the garden with coffee in hand while the kids played in the yard still in their pajamas. Several white butterflies kept us company.
During my summer breaks when I was a kid, my sister and I would play outside in our p.j.s. We would climb onto the trampoline we got as a hammydown from our older cousins. Our blankets wrapped securely around us, we would jump together, often in synch. Bounce, bounce, bounce, fall. Sometimes, there was a new world waiting for us when we hit a certain height. A world full of fantasy wizards and witches or unicorns. This was the 70's after all.
After my kids got dressed and had some breakfast, we decided to take a walk. My daughter, although 7, is still light enough to push in the double jogger so I take it along for the end of the ride when they are pooped. But, initially, they have to walk. Kids just don't get the exercise they used to. As we walked up a hill and around a bend of one of our favorite streets here in Old Town Warrenton called High Street, a smell blessed my nostrils. I couldn't place it.
I stopped and asked the kids to stop. I sniffed all the border flowers but none gave off the aroma that had pulled a million childhood memories from my tired brain. Walks through the woods beside my parents' home to the Skyline Drive and a "secret bridge". Playing outside at dusk while my the t.v. filtered through the open windows. "I Dream of Jeanie". (again, this was the 70's). My parents on the porch swing while my sister and I watched a plane overhead. Sitting on the porch roof to see the town fireworks on the 4th of July. That smell was like peace, serenity, security.
The owner of the house was outside. I asked her what it might be. Honeysuckle is growing behind me she said. That had been the only part I had recognized. What was the other? I needed to know so I could duplicate it but she didn't know.
Then I settled. I knew I wouldn't find out. I'm a gardener but a fairly novice one. I had a feeling, I wouldn't soon forget that moment. Smelling that smell of my childhood while my kids walked and giggled about something I couldn't seem to figure out. How fortunate I was to experience this day. A beautiful day spent without getting in the car.
We walked home and had our usual picnic lunch on the porch.