Saturday, March 10, 2007

"That every Hyacinth the Garden wears Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head." - Edward Fitzgerald

One in an occasional series. [7/25]

It’s sixty degrees outside, and this morning it was sunny and breezy. (Now it’s grey and cloudy and misting.) Is it possible that spring is on the way?

My crocuses will be poking up their heads soon, my personal first-harbinger of spring. My mom was not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, but she had yellow and purple crocuses planted under the evergreens in front of our little split-level in New Jersey, and I always knew spring was really on its way when I saw those little sprouts.

Then the daffs in my front yard will come up, and then the hundreds of tulip bulbs Seg and I planted last spring (a housewarming gift, and we moved in three years ago this April, so not sure if they are too old to grow).
My giant lilac bush next to the porch will bloom; is there anything headier than the perfume of lilacs?
Then my roses, a dozen shrubs of pale and deep pink double blooms, that overhang the brick alley - by then it will be summer.

I like hyacinths, but I am fairly certain I didn’t plant any. But I sort of went on a bulb-planting binge, so I could have.
I guess I’ll find out in a few weeks.
I especially like the fragrant ones, like the ones you get at Easter.
The bridesmaids carried bunches of grape hyacinths in my sister-in-law’s wedding, and they looked really cute, but they didn’t smell like much of anything.

Neither do these, but I am nonetheless attached to them.

When I was about twelve, my mother made an offhand comment about these pretty little boxes she’d seen in a card store near our house. I don’t know what inspired me, but I rode my bike up to the card store, picked out what I thought was the prettiest one, took it home, wrapped it up, and gave it to her. Just because. It wasn’t Mother’s Day, most certainly not Christmas or her birthday. I vividly recall wanting to get her one of the boxes, just for no occasion whatsoever. Just because she’d liked them.

It couldn’t have been very expensive, as we didn’t get an allowance and I always seemed to be short of cash until I started working when I was sixteen. It’s just cheap enameled metal, lined with fuzzy red fabric.

I can’t remember her reaction at the time, but I do know this little box sat on her dresser always after that. It held – and still does - her high school ring (Camden High School, '51), an Avon CZ dinner ring, and the ring she used as a wedding band for work at the nursing home. I remember that after her real one had to be cut off (I can’t remember now why), she wore this filigree band all the time.


lazy cow said...

That's a lovely memory. Your mum obviously treasured your gift, and now you have it to remind you of her.
Impressed with all the bulb planting. I was into gardening when we moved to this house 6 years ago. Now it is a barren wasteland.

blackbird said...

I like this box best then...

Caro said...

I love that story.

You obviously loved your Mom very much.

I love that you keep her items in the box still.

And lilacs are the best flowers in the world.

Sarah Louise said...


I can't think of anything to say except wow.

It's wierd to have things that you gave as gifts to people now dead--I have a box I gave my grandma.

I hope your tulips come up.

Lisa Jean said...

What a beautiful post. Spring brings out such wonderful feelings. I'm hoping my bulbs are stirring under the snow.