The scent remains the same


I awoke to the singing of Cardinals. Opening one eye to look at the clock, confirmed what I already knew. It was early. Way early. The sun was already breaking over the edge of the world, and painting the tree tops in golden light. I can’t blame the Cardinals. If I were a bird I’d be doing the same.

I closed my eyes, and tried to crawl back into the dream I had left, but the trail was already fading. The songs of the birds were seeping into my head, calling me back into the daylight I was trying to escape from. The dogs began to yawn at the foot of the bed, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before their insistent paws started knocking on the door. So I gave up, and rolled across the bed to climb out on the empty side. It always takes a few moments to figure out when Mrs. 20 Prospect is working a night shift, and the bed is half empty. Or half full, depending on your point of view I guess.

These mornings where I take the kids to school are a blessing. I can take my time showering, and eating breakfast, as the kids go about getting ready for school. Some days require more prodding than others. The dogs made their rounds of the yard, patrolling the perimeter, inspecting it for all the nocturnal scents that make their mornings so exciting. Fox? Possum? Turkey? I wonder what thoughts go through their furry little heads.

After a winter that seemed as if it would never end spring has finally arrived. The rains have turned the grass an Irish green. Ankle deep tufts brush against the bellies of the dogs as they burrow though it with their noses in search of scents. The Lilacs have begun to bloom, and the neighbor’s apple tree is in full glory. May can be the most beautiful month in Minnesota. Perhaps it’s the long months of whiteness that makes us fall so deeply in love with spring when it finally arrives. Or maybe we know how fleeting lilac time can be.

This is our 16th year of watching the lilacs bloom along the fence line. They were the first thing we saw when we came to look at the house, and the smell of them took our breath away. There is no other flower that lies so deep within my subconscious. The scent of them can take me back to childhood on Prospect Avenue when the lilacs bushes would droop from the weight of the blossoms, and bend over the fence from our neighbor’s yard. My bedroom faced the back, and during that brief, sweet time the scent of lilacs would drift in through my bedroom window each evening as I lay in bed waiting for sleep. For those two short weeks my dreams would blossom like the lilacs.

Sitting on the front porch with the kids today, as we were waiting to go to school it struck me just how big they have become. In another 4 years they will start off to High School, and these slow elementary mornings will be a thing of the past. The kids will be burdened by much more serious worries, and the dogs will be a little less concerned about the squirrels. As for me, I’ll be a little more gray and probably not a whole lot wiser. Sitting there in my rocking chair, with the kids and dogs playing nearby, it occurred to me that only the memories and the lilacs remain the same.

Photo from the Library of Congress Prokudin-Gorski collection

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8 thoughts on “The scent remains the same

  1. I wonder if lilacs are more popular in New York state? I ask because it’s odd that both your yard and my old yard were framed completely with white and purple lilacs.
    Also Elly, honeysuckle were all over as well.
    Did you used to pull out the stem and eat the stuff inside?
    We did.
    That probably explains a LOT about me

    • Yes, they were everywhere. Same goes for Minnesota thankfully. Our back yard is lined on one side with Lilacs, and the other with Honeysuckle. DOUBLE BONUS!

  2. I’m not sure I’ve evern had the pleasure of lilacs, but the honeysuckel that used to cover my parents back fence was divine.

    Also, I read that as “…inspecting it for all the nocturnal emmissions that make the mornings so exciting.”

    Indeed!

    • sigh… reminds me of sultry summer evenings in Kentucky… I sweated my ass off that summer, and never did get lucky.

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