Growing up there was a shady corner in front of the shed, just outside of my bedroom window, that was full of lilies of the valley. They bloomed in May in Rhode Island, I think, and I remember my mom insisting I look at them and smell them and appreciate them. I’m not entirely sure I did appreciate them then, but I do now. I don’t have the right kind of damp shady corner these guys like, and so they are in a dry shady spot under the hydrangeas out front. No matter – they bloomed.
Last night I sat on the couch and the living room smelled like perfume from the lilies of the valley and the lilac. I closed my eyes and just sniffed, remembering the garden in Kingston and all the springs I have smelled. Then I noticed a weird sour note as I sniffed, and opened my eyes to the pair of small stinky sweat socks on the couch beside me, and the small bare feet careening through the house. I left the socks on the couch, but took the boy out to appreciate the lilies of the valley. Or not.