May 29, 2015
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th years where I write and illustrate a blog on each day’s gift.)
It’s official—honeysuckle is blooming. No matter that it is an invasive weed—that fact does not detract from its beautiful bloom and sweet scent.
I grew up in Baltimore City, surrounded by concrete and very small green patches. I played in the back alley with other neighborhood children, games such as Mother May I, Simon Says, hopscotch and jump rope. Around this time of the year, a certain scent would cause us to stop in the middle of play, an aroma carrying change and promise. We knew summer was beckoning when we smelled the honeysuckle. One of our neighbors had a vine growing at the end of her chain link fenced yard, a vine with the funnel-shaped flowers and sweet smell. I remember when a playmate, a girl from West Virginia who was familiar with wild things, introduced me to the taste.
“You pick it like this,” she instructed me. I plucked the flower with the little green bud, the calyx, which was close to the stem. “Pinch here and pull this string and suck it,” my young teacher continued. She demonstrated, already on her second taste. I pinched the calyx and pulled the stamen out through the bottom. Then I stuck out my tongue and tasted the nectar. It was such a tiny bit but a little bit of sweet goes a long way.
Another honeysuckle memory wafts back from later in life when I was around 30. I had a motorcycle that carried sensuous connections. I loved how the air temperature changed from warm at the top of hills to chilly down in the dips. I loved the feel of warm wind rushing past. But even more, I savored the fragrances that permeated the air—especially the honeysuckle scent along country roads. Sometimes small things bring great pleasure and that is enough.
My gift today is honeysuckle.
You can find links to my other posts on this project here: