Sometimes I feel I’m living a version of Groundhog Day.
I can predict, almost to the moment, when the first jonquils will peep through in the front garden.
It can make me feel a bit anxious, wondering if I’ve lived too long in the same place, or I’m becoming entrenched. I worry I’m in danger of letting my thinking get stale or my behaviours set.
But then I let myself drift back through time, to other occasions when those intensely perfumed white blooms have caught my attention: coming home from the camino, reminding me there was beauty to be had in my own patch; after the death of a friend, shaking me into seeing new life; late at night as guests walked out into cold night air, the fragrance linked to laughter and shared stories.
Wattle takes me to childhood. There were different strains of it, of course, in Western Australia, but that spicy honey scent and the certainty that sunshine, exactly that wattle-colour, will track me down, makes me feel six again. Sticking a sprig of wattle in a bottle brings instant optimism to my desktop. Brushing pollen tips as I step out onAustralian trails has always lifted me. They say there’s at least one species of wattle in bloom somewhere all year. How comforting that is. Spring all year.
I inhaled my first whiff of jasmine for this season in Sydney a week ago, and time-travelled to 1994 when my mum was dying. Jasmine, with its promise of warm spring nights, is associated with her death for me. But there is beauty and happiness in that, too. With the passing of time, I recall her smiles and embrace, so jasmine is now a reminder to live large. To suck in the moments. To inhale bigger breaths of scented air and optimism. Jasmine is a call to expand.
Roses are fat, lush memory-vessels.
Opening nights and well-wishes.
Swooning in June.
Birthdays and farewells.
Buckets of them. Bud vases.
Trysts and mists of time.
Pink roses are also my mother – her instruction to remember her whenever I see one trailing against a stone wall.
Love like a red red rose…
But oh, surely also an apricot wonder and a yellow sunburst and a Mr Lincoln with a scent to stop anyone’s tracks.
Surely those roses do make the heart skip.
And sunflowers…flowers of the camino. Nothing brings back Spain like them. Nothing makes my toes itch so. Nothing makes my lips twitch into a smile like a sun sun sunflower. The roads lined with them, my memories dotted with them. Sun fun sunflowers, you have mapped my happy heart.
And the daffodil! How could I forget that easy-grow blessing that can be had for a gold coin. Generosity on a purse-string. What more?
Yes, I know already what comes next in my city wanderings…honeysuckle and tulips and cherry blossom peeping over fences and scenting back lanes. Does knowing of their arrival make me love them less? Will I greet them without joy, simply because they can be predicted? Or will I thank them for mapping my days and marking my ways?
I walk along and through and inside and outside of time and space and the floral clock of my years, and staleness is a choice, and patterns are for making as much as breaking…and flowers are a gift I must never fail to meet with love.
So have a bunch. From me.
A couple of postscripts…
There is a new article I wrote over at Eureka Street. Here is a link.
Also, I’ve updated the Events and Media page. A few talky things and some travel.