I saw a snowball bush today. At least that’s what we called it when we were kids. In that instant of seeing, I was no longer driving on my way to Saturday morning errands but was in my grandma’s front yard, next to the grey-painted wooden steps leading up to her screened porch. Though my body was at a stop sign and I was watching traffic (I hoped), my mind was thumbing through old yellowed snippets of sight and smell. I never liked that snowball bush. But what was it that grew next to it, with the demure white flowers that sweetened the air? Ah — a break in traffic and I turned out — mock orange! Now there was a spring flower. The heady fragrance proper to spring.
Another left turn. Grandma didn’t consider herself much of a gardener, and I suppose she wasn’t. Along the side of her house, squished between the wall and the sidewalk, were lilies of the valley, foolishly deemed weeds by some. To me they were as magical as they should have been. I’d pick them and marvel. The trick was to pick them low to the ground so that each stem was long. It took some patience to pick each stem properly but the bouquet that rounded in my hand was charmingly worth it.
Now a turn to the right. What was that song? “White floral bells, upon a slender stalk/lilies of the valley deck my garden walk.” Or something like that. We used to sing it as a round.
Grandma grew moss roses in the back yard every summer. Now I do too.
And then I was at the store, rummaging for the list, for the here-and-now, though the there-and-then called my name.