Saturday, May 12, 2007

Apple blossom

I was walking over to my garden this morning to get some weeding in before I headed off to the gym for my daily dose of torture. I noticed that the rain we’ve had over the past couple of days has knocked a lot of the blossom off the apple trees in the park, and it was making me a little wistful about how fleeting this season is. The breeze picked up and I was engulfed in the sweet scent of apple blossom.

It was like a time machine and suddenly, I was in my fathers ’53 Ford and it was 1962. We were driving back from the family farm. All of the windows were down in the car and as we started to drive past Ellis’ Orchard there was the smell of apple blossom.

My dad stopped the car and took in a deep breath. “Will you smell that!” and imitating my dad, my older brother and I took a deep breath of what seemed to be pure spring. The orchard in full bloom seemed to fill the world with its perfume. The trees on the rolling hills of the orchard covered in a pinky white snow, the early spring mountains in the background still a winter purple brown with a haze of green and the sky that odd china blue of late afternoon, early evening. For a moment the world was magic. It was like being transported for one perfect moment into an illustration by Arthur Rackham or Maxfield Parrish.

I don’t remember why we had gone to the farm that day. No doubt my father was helping my Uncle Eugene. Doing what I don’t know. It was spring so it wasn’t bailing. Late summer had it’s own scent of fresh mown hay. The air would have had a metallic edge, not the damp softness of spring. The sky would have been a different blue, hot and coppery during the day, purple in the evening. I don’t suppose it really matters. It was just a moment of no great import.

Maybe it remains in my mind simply because it was a happy moment. They were to become fewer and further between as the years progressed. Certainly any memories that involved my dad and being happy were doomed to disappear.

But there is was, this perfect moment, like an insect preserved in amber, a sweet moment with no greater significance than the fact that it existed and in some way still exists, floating loose from time, able to be made present at any time with the magic scent of apple blow.