I’ve gone to Maine a lot lately. I went to the Portland Flower Show, I went to Portland again to retrieve some forgotten gloves, and this week I had to go to Brunswick for a funeral. Two weeks ago, while zipping over Tukey’s Bridge, I thought I could smell lilacs. It’s not possible that I could smell real lilacs, though, because the forsythia are just starting to bloom and they arrive before the lilacs. Still, it was a strange and wonderful remembrance of the lovely flowering plant which I had somehow forgotten would arrive this spring.
I’m glad I had the strange scented experience again today as I was driving north of Portland, through occasional blasts of rain and snow. A good college friend was burying her mother and the hint of spring made the situation seem less sad. Her mother had been a sweet and lovely lady and not just because she ran a candy store. She was kind and patient and she always called us “hon.” She was like a lilac, although she preferred white daisies. Some members of the old college gang were there and I’m glad I was able to take the day off to bear witness to my friend’s loss and sadness. It’s probably all we can do sometimes.
Since I was so close to home (9 miles) and it was only three o’clock in the afternoon when I said good-bye to my friend, I decided to skip over to Lisbon Falls and visit my parents. On the way through town, I took a look at my “surprise garden” and noticed my tulips were throwing off their leaf blanket. Oh, how I worry about them all winter long. I’m always so relieved to see that the plow truck never accidentally knocks them out of shape. Thank you, plow truck drivers. One of these snowy winter nights I’ll ride shotgun with you. It’s my last municipal vehicle fantasy, since I’ve already had a ride in a fire truck. But that’s another story for another day.
My parents just happened to be “resting their eyes” when I got there, but my father graciously offered me the couch. “Are you sure, Dad?” It didn’t take much to convince me that an impromptu nap by the wood stove was a little slice of paradise pie, although perhaps in the back of my mind I knew I was arriving at just the right time for such a thing. Apparently, their nap time was over and they sneakered up and went out for a walk while I curled up on the couch next to the wood stove. It was really just a cat nap; I didn’t have any freakish dreams for once. All I remember was a fleeting vision of lilacs, tulips, daffodils, and white daisies waving in the breeze. It seemed like a split second and then I heard the door knob turn and my parents were back from their walk.
My mother insisted on packing up a container of her latest casserole and I waved good-bye, knowing I’d be back again in a few days. I stopped at the Extra-Mart for a “throwback” soda, secretly hoping I might see a few familiar faces. I was not disappointed because that’s how it is when I’m at home. In no particular hurry, I drove back to New Hampshire and I swear I heard nothing but 80’s songs on the radio.
It was still light when I arrived at the Coop and getting out of the Jeep, I took a deep breath. Spring was in the air. I could smell it and I could feel it. I hope my friend could smell it and feel it, too. It reminded me that everything was going to be all right. Maybe not all at once, but eventually.
Yes, everything is going to be all right, just like lilacs, tulips, daffodils, and white daisies.