Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heaven scent.

"Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?"
(Neltje Blanchan)

I may find myself fumbling for words in recent days, but the other afternoon, I managed to bring to life, for the first time, my most favorite scent on Earth, in a way that pleased me. I've struggled for the whole nine years I've lived in Florida to find words that would do justice to a scent so marvelously perfect, I have to believe it floats down straight from Heaven.

When someone has never breathed in of orange blossoms, the first thing I'm always asked is what they smell like. Equate them to something that can be grasped. Categorize them. I can't compare them to anything else, but in an effort to draw on what one might have experienced, I cast in the general direction of honeysuckle or jasmine. They are close...though not the same. An orange blossom's scent is sweet but in a very pure way. They are pungent but delicate. They are intoxicating but not overwhelming. The scent can carry for miles, reaching your nose with delight...or you can stand in the center of a grove in full blossom & catch just a hint. They are there...but not.

And then the words fell fluid from my tip-tapping fingers: They are Mother Nature instructing us on proper perfume application. Be subtle, yet unmistakable. Let just enough linger on the air to catch the attention...but the moment you seek out another sniff, it's danced away, almost as if you imagined it. It toys with you, leaves you wanting more, makes you want to breathe it into your memory. It is there...but not.
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Friday, after work, I made the trek to my hair appointment. Due to some nifty rescheduling maneuvers to accommodate my unusually tricky calendar this month, I found myself making the trip in the evening, rather than my typical early Saturday morning routine. The rural drive always appeals to me, but I look forward to my March appointments with increased anticipation. The winding back roads weave through and around no fewer than twenty orange groves in varying stages of life. Some with perfectly pruned trees in neat rows, stretching out of sight. Others with tall wild grasses filling the open spaces between the trees with branches, much like my hair, in desperate need of some attention. And then there are the aging groves, left totally unattended, some trees having gone bare & empty among the unruly chaos of their brethren, gnarled branches with sparse leaves and whatever withered fruits the wildlife left behind. One common thread, no matter the state of the grove: sweet white blossoms filling the air, waiting for a breeze to carry their perfume along. A handful of blossoms or thousands, it does not seem to matter. They make the Spring air magical. And for reasons I cannot nail down, though I speculate March after March, something about the gathering darkness heightens the scent, multiplies it without ever overdoing or becoming obnoxiously excessive.

It was bordering on chilly Friday evening. A brisk wind had been blowing all day & when the sun set, all trace of warmth was gone. Though I shivered, even with my jacket on, I drove the whole sixty miles home with my front windows down, the wind whipping through my car. My nose was like a bloodhound's hungrily sniffing at the air, waiting to catch it, unwilling to miss even a drop. And there it was again, and I am inhaling deeply, trying to breathe in as much of it as I can hold. These fragrant blossoms are instant happy for me.

My hands & cheeks were like ice by the time I pulled into my parking space at home, but it was worth every mile. They'll be gone again soon, for another year. And though I will try to engrave it indelibly into my sense of smell to call upon at will, I will fail yet again. So I'll wait for them eagerly each March in the years to come, this same scent that welcomed me to Florida on the day I first arrived. I was instantly enamored & like the glorious Autumns I lived for back in New England, now I feel myself coming to life each March, invigorated & joyful.

It's getting late, as the clock ticks forward to the eleventh hour. I should power down for the night & tuck myself into bed. But still I cannot bring myself to close the window, shutting out that olfactory delight. Not yet. They'll be gone again too soon...

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Too many too few.

It feels as if there are a million thoughts tumbling around in my head these days. So many words in a jumbled ball. Kind of like yarn. Each string is a different color, making it easy to see that each individual piece is woven in there, but they get tangled & knotted, difficult to separate into a neat pile. If you could just find the right string to pull, the whole mess would begin to loosen itself.

Too many words in my head means too few figure out how to escape.

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Menu Plan Monday: March 7, 2011



Monday: Lasagna, garlic bread & salad.
Tuesday: Hamburger Helper & a salad.
Wednesday: BLTs.
Thursday: Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken & broccoli.
Friday: Scallops, grilled tilapia, a quick noodle side dish & a salad.
Saturday: Strawberry Festival!
Sunday: Pork chops & rice in the crock pot and Asparagus Parmesan Au Gratin.

Notes from last week's menu: I slacked with posting the menu the last two weeks, so a brief overview from last week included burgers on the grill, really yummy kabobs, barbecue chipped ham sandwiches, Crab Cakes, and Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: February 2011

A photo of me:
I really should make a point to be better about this...

1) Candle scents this month:
Red Apple Wreath. Warm Apple Crisp. Autumn Fruit. Peppermint Swirls. Welcome Christmas. Frosty Air. Apple Pie. Christmas Wreath. White Christmas. Be Thankful. Gingerbread. Autumn Wreath. Holiday Bayberry. North Pole. Mistletoe. Autumn Leaves.

2) What I am reading this month:
I have a great list of books I want to read. I need to get to the library.

3) Top three songs I was drawn to:
"Who Are You When I'm Not Looking," Blake Shelton. "Back to December," Taylor Swift. "A Little Bit Stronger," Sara Evans.

4) Movies I saw:
Tombstone. Coyote Ugly.

5) Favorite tv moments of the month:
No specific scenes, but I have been loving the heck out of Harry's Law, Parenthood, The Good Wife and Blue Bloods.

6) Something yummy I made:
I made some brownies that were exactly the right amount chewy-gooey.

7) Restaurants where I ate:
Ling's.

8) Something I am thankful for:
Knowing exactly how to reach my inner peace.

9) A goal I had for this month:
To get caught up on some of the shows that lived too long on the DVR. Lofty, huh? Almost caught up on two of the four!

10) This month I looked forward to:
The start of Spring Training. It always feels like an eternity between the Super Bowl and Pitchers & Catchers Reporting. (Yes, that does deserve to be capitalized. It should be a flipping holiday, it makes me so happy.)

11) Something I want to remember about this month:
Blink & it's gone. Good thing it's the only 28-day month.

12) A photo I took this month:

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