“Simply delicious!” I say each time I pass through the open doorway and enter the gardens. This bridge between Spring and Summer brings the heat and the lushness into a pas de deux of most exquisite fragrance and color. The humidity and threat of thunderstorms arrive each year at this time, causing me to wonder if I fell asleep in my familiar gardens nestled in the foothills of the California Sierra Mountains and awoke in the balmy regions of the South. A hankering for fried chicken and butter beans and tangy greens all washed down with something sweet and icy overtake my bread-and-butter-with-tea tastes.
The heating up of the days produces the most delightful evenings that just beg to be danced with. Just last night I waltzed from rose bush to rose bush, busy as a bee, removing the spent blossoms and marveling over the powerful fragrance put forth from a dying rose. The tired petals hang limply by a most delicate thread – sometimes the mere whiffing of the fragrance proves the final moment as the petals cascade as soon as the eager nose touches them. But then . . . the most incredible burst of perfume takes flight and fills the memory forever. Greater than a swan’s song, I find the rose’s last fragrance unmatched in achievement found in any bottle of perfume.
Last night I stopped amidst the clipping and the pruning and closed my eyes. The birdsong, the buzzing bugs (those seeking shelter after a day well spent, those seeking the moonlight and evening shift), the plash of the waterfall, and a myriad of other gentle sounds tickled my ears as the heady roses, jubilant jasmine and newly sprung lavender buds suffused the air with a perfume so rare and a song so sweet, namely because it will only be available this very moment in time. A prize given freely to one who would choose to pause and accept this moment’s unique gift.
Unfortunately this Gateway to Summer funnels ever so many activities to and fro in these fleeting days. Graduation swims celebrate Lydia’s exit from Jr. High and entrance to High School. (How can it be so?) Year-end musical recitals fill this evening or that. Dental and doctor and other necessary appointments crowd in at the last minute, freeing the lazy days of summer from such unpleasantness. Most happily, my email box and message machine spill over with exuberant details about pending visits with most welcome friends. As we live in a “vacation” spot, many choose to come and share their summer holidays with us. With a large garden to tend and none willing to house-sit such a needy place . . . we stay and play, inviting others to join us at will. (Will you come? The gate swings wide in welcome.)
This Summer I had hoped to host my dearest sister-like friend, Mimmi, from Norway along with her mother (my “Mamma”) and her daughter, Siv. Mimmi has not visited me in the States since 1987! I have had the pleasure of returning to Norway twice since my initial summer’s stay in 1979 (though it took 25 years before the initial return visit). Alas, the economy and her husband’s temporary business transfer to Singapore for many months curtailed the planning and the trip fell through. Maybe next year . . .
In no time at all the freed-up vacation spot filled with others seeking a respite with us here at Wisteria Cottage. My sister, Cindy, will be arriving in just over a week for several days of fun and DRY HEAT (she lives in North Carolina) and good food and late nights on the veranda or in the pool as we laugh over old memories and make new ones. We couldn’t be more different in type, yet like hot fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream we get together and IT IS GOOD! I can hardly wait. (Sadly, I may fall off the blogging wagon again . . . but, at least you’ll know the happy cause.)
After Cindy leaves we have the US’s birthday and then Matthew’s 21st birthday to celebrate before another friend arrives from Ukraine to enjoy an American Summertime of resting, feasting, swimming late into the night, and celebrating the freedom that we sometimes take for granted, but she NEVER does. Surely that week will fly by all too quickly as well.
Oh, just writing all this down makes me giddy with excitement, as the calendar literally bursts with fun and friends and family happenings. BUT . . . for today I have laundry to address, gardens to water, meals to plan, a very messy sitting room to tidy, and so much more. A business trip for Gary smack in the middle of the week (thankfully only a day-trip to LA) has ruffled my plans a bit, but since these days grow longer and lazier as we head toward the midsummer . . . well, I can afford to take a deep breath and say, “There’s time . . .” as I scamper back out into the gardens for another whiff of that amazing hint of Heaven packed into the petals of a rose.
And live a life of love,
Just as Christ loved us
And gave himself up for us
As a fragrant offering
And sacrifice to God.