The catalog arrived in the mail. It was a busy Saturday, and so it was not until after the last of the light had fallen away to the west that I sat down and opened it.
TW was puttering in the garage. Twinks was busy at her part-time college-girl job. And so I sat in a warm circle of lamp light, with my kittty companions nearby, and began to turn the pages.
It was from a candle company, peddling their wares. Spring is in the air, and so are the latest scents and shapes of candles and holders and assorted candle-adjacent items in their glossy catalog. Several places in the catalog were prominently marked as “Rub and Smell”, typically on the picture of the candle in question.
I happily made my way through the book, rubbing and smelling here and there. And then, I came upon the page with the lilacs.
The human mind never fails to amaze, does it Gentle Reader? The fact that we can store so many memories, and store them in ways that are associated not just with visual cues, or auditory cues, but also with the sense of taste and smell and touch, and even movement is fascinating.
Absentmindedly, I scratched and sniffed, and found myself instantly transported back to a place in my childhood, when my world was simple, my worries were very few, and anything was possible.
There were lilacs that were banked on the fence that bordered the east side of my grandparent’s lawn. My grandmother had planted them when my mother went off to college, and by the time I was a child, they were almost run wild; the very scent of a sweet spring morning to me is that of the sun, drying the dew from the lilacs. It would creep up by the kitchen door, and wait for breakfast to be done, and then, when all that was left of the morning was the smell of Ivory Dish Soap and clean, freshly washed linens, it would meander in through the screens. By late afternoon the house would overshadow the lilacs; their scent almost faded away, and it was as if they waited then, for the evening dew to cover them in soft, sparkly blankets, and for the sun to kiss them awake again the next morning.
The memories were so sharp, and so clear. Tears came to my eyes, and I struggled to blink them away, sure that if I only could, I would see my grandparents standing on the porch, smiling at me. I waited for the squeak-creak-bang of the old screen door to try and open my eyes. I drew in another breath, and felt the gentle spring sun as I sat on the back steps, and waited for our dear old Spaniel, Pat, to amble up and push his wet nose into my hand. I listened for parents voices, younger, stronger, happier…
But when the tears finally blinked away, there was was only me, and a silly paper catalog, with it’s scratch n’ sniff circles. I tore out the page with the lilac “Rub and Smell” circle; I dare not buy the candle, lest I spend the rest of my days in a weepy puddle, but I can’t bear to just throw it away. What a silly, sentimental fool I can be at times!
I know it’s been a long time. And there is much to tell – as there always is after a great absence. I’ll be back again soon, I promise.
Until then, I’m trying to avoid the lilacs…