Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Day of Flowers and Scents

Today was a day of flowers and beautiful scents. I took the picture today along a roadside in western North Carolina. The field was glowing from the sun low in an early fall sky.

I have a tradition when I go on a trip. I always pick a flower or herb and put it in my car as I leave. Having a good place to put them was actually one of the deciding factors in buying my Toyota Matrix. I have dried flowers from more than three years worth of trips on my dashboard.

On this very special trip as I move from Raleigh to Los Angeles the flowers would be just as special and meaningful.

As I left Sterling Montessori on Friday, I picked a bloom from the Rose of Sharon in our class garden. I added a gardenia (blooming out of season!) from my Dad's house in Rocky Mount, NC. I took a small yellow rosebud from my daughter's wedding bouquet as I left my apartment in Raleigh. I picked a dandelion and a sprig of rosemary from her yard in Greensboro, NC.

Another "beautiful scent" experience isn't tradition ~ and won't become one I'm sure, but it is meaningful to me.

My mom loved perfumes. When she died in December she left behind probably 50 different kinds. I told dad I'd take them and sort through them and do something with the rest. They sat in a paper bag in my bedroom for 9 months.

As I was packing to move, I knew I couldn't just throw them away. I had tried to go through them before, but wouldn't get far. I'd open one that would remind me so much of her that I'd start remembering things connected with that scent...

Well, the time had come that I had to decide what to do. So... I went through them and took out a few that contained my strongest memories. There were ones that she wore often, ones I remember seeing on her dresser since I was very small, ones that were special evening scents. I kept those. I threw a few away that seemed to have never been used (she must not have liked them). I put the rest in a basket and put them in my car.

My mom had been almost housebound for the last ten years of her life. She would go out only on rare occasions. She had always wanted to travel, but by the time she and my dad were at the time in their life when they could, she was too ill. So, she's traveling with me on this trip.

Every time I stop at a nice place, I take out one of the bottles, spray a bit into the air and then leave the bottle in a only slightly inconspicuous spot for somebody to find. Today I left three.

It has what feels like two main purposes. One, to travel with her... to take her along the ride across the country with me. Another is to sort of leave a "trail of crumbs" so she can find me.

It's been a powerful day.... and my car smells REALLY good.


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