“This is how I shall measure time….”
I can’t find the poem. I found a short essay from which the poem was crafted, but the poem may be lost, which is not surprising since there have been many moves and nearly three decades between. The search was not exhaustive so there is yet hope. I remember only fragments of the poem, the last line being, “This is how I shall measure time.”
When my son, Blake, was a baby, we lived in North Carolina. He was born in March and by May, the windows were wide open as the days were warm and the nights still pleasant enough not to need any air conditioning. One night, while rocking Blake to sleep, in that still, quiet room, I felt a breeze come through the window bringing with it the fragrance of honeysuckle from the wooded area behind our home. Blake’s so small self close against me as we rocked, his closed fist near his cheek, eyes, closed, his easy breath. I sighed a deep sigh and closed my eyes as well as we rocked and I deep-inhaled the fragrance of the honeysuckle–mixed with a bit of baby powder. This beautiful moment merited recording, hence the poem that I hope to find in short order. I thought to write about this today in honor of Blake’s thirtieth year and our holiday that celebrates the importance of remembering.
Down Green Street, just a block away, a back yard garden lined with some old cherry trees has a stand of honeysuckle that grows within the remains of a chain link fence that runs between the sidewalk and the cherry trees. Intertwined with the honeysuckle is a bunch of poison ivy, so I am always careful when I walk by. The cherry trees bend over the walk so I feel free to help myself to whatever the birds have missed. Delicious. I wonder about these old cherry trees, and who planted them; I wonder why I never see anyone about in this garden, as often as I walk by and admire these nice, old trees. They also have a gorgeous, mature, hornbeam at the front corner which is one of the best trees in a several block span.
But it’s the honeysuckle that most captivates me, I think because of the memories, the span of years that are blurred by sensing this fragrance. Every year since, no matter where I’ve lived, whenever the honeysuckle fragrance comes by, I am back in seconds to that one special night.
I am left to wonder if this isn’t why we have fragrant flowers–so that we will have a way close the gap between the here and the then. I’m sure the cherry trees are older than Blake. Not sure about the honeysuckle vine, but no matter. Either way, the honeysuckle is blooming today.