“That’s fresh air,” she said. “Lie on your back and draw in long breaths of it. That’s what Dickon does when he’s lying on the moor. He says he feels it in his veins and it makes him strong and he feels as if he could live forever and ever. Breathe it and breathe it.”FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT, The Secret Garden
She was only repeating what Dickon had told her, but she caught Colin’s fancy.
“’Forever and ever’! Does it make him feel like that?” he said, and he did as she told him, drawing in long deep breaths over and over again until he felt that something quite new and delightful was happening to him.
I took a walk around the park over lunch today, and realized things were perfect. Not just the sky — blue, with wispy clouds — and not just the trees — branches waving in the breeze, sunlight glinting off the leaves — but the smell.
Even through my mask, I could smell the smell of good green stuff, of things growing and living and making the world happen. Cedar mulch. Grass cuttings decaying in the sun. Wind. The resinous, incense-like scent of golden currant bushes. I eventually took the mask off, secure in the solitude around me, and continued walking towards the community garden, breathing in and breathing in.
It’s hard for me to get over the satisfaction of seeing this in the distance and realizing I’m part of it. And then, coming closer to my plot and seeing all the plants I can identify, and all the ones I can’t.
The tomato and pepper seedlings have shot up like rockets since I first planted them about a month ago. Some of the tomatoes have gotten so tall that I’m going to stake them tomorrow. Some of the peppers are starting to bloom. Even the lone pumpkin seedling that was struggling after transplantation is making a go of it! And there are masses and masses of dill. I harvested handfuls last week and have barely made a dent. I will need to find a way to use it all up, but I can highly recommend this recipe for maple, mustard and dill chicken. (Bonus: You can tweak the marinade and turn it into a great dressing for pasta salad.)
The first few weeks of June are also when Russian olive trees are at their most fragrant. Their smell is almost impossible for me to describe, floral and sweet and powdery and fresh like rain. If someone could bottle that smell, I would buy it. I’d daub it on my wrists and neck in the wintertime, to remind myself that the seasons will change eventually.
They will change. But right now, I’m happy with the light and the smell of late spring, and the promise of pumpkins and carrots and tomatoes.