Friday, May 15, 2009

Sweet Intoxication


Privet near our road.

The privet just started blooming in the last ten days or so. It brings with it a rich, sweet smell that permeates the air outside my home. Whereas our wisteria a few weeks ago created clouds of subtle sweetness, privet boldly fills the entire sky of smell.

Jennifer doesn’t enjoy privet because it is so sweet. Mixed with robust honeysuckle and many other flowering things, the air becomes a blended alcohol of strongly scented opulence.

Supposedly, smell is the strongest memory and perhaps the last thing to go even though there are some who hope that hearing goes last. Who knows? The aroma of mid-May carries me back to a morning in the mid-90’s.


Honeysuckle, young sassafras, kinda misty. Late-afternoon, very humid, swarming with mosquitoes...already.

I had just arrived home in the false dawn, my daughter had just been born. We had privet at our back door then. The door most everyone uses to enter our house. I left the windows open and the house was filled with the scent of privet. I laid down on the sofa, fell off to sleep. I woke an hour or so later. The sun was coming up now. Morning light. I made coffee.

Jennifer’s parents, whom I had called just before and just after my daughter was born, arrived from a two-hour drive. They had been up most of the night too, since my reports to them on the birth of their only non-adopted grandchild. We shared some coffee and chatted about how well Jennifer was doing and about the rather rapid progressions through the various stages on her labor.


Spirea in bloom.

At one point Jennifer was wanting to push while lying in the back of our Subaru. She felt my daughter coming. I was speeding down I-75 to the hospital. She felt euphoria in between the contractions. We both breathed rapidly and she did not push. Until we got her to the hospital about 25 minutes later.

They were skeptical of exactly what to do with us until they verified if Jennifer was sufficiently dilated. They didn’t value the fact we were both certified in the Bradley Method. When our mid-wife checked she felt the top of my daughter’s head.

She was in my arms 45 minutes later.

I looked at her. It was extraordinary. Much later, about 4 a.m., I think I drove down to the house to check on a few things and meet Jennifer’s parents coming up. We somehow managed to coordinate all this without cell phones. And so I laid down. I breathed in the pervasive privet. I napped.

Life was sweet, life was plentiful. There was a lot of life. Nothing but splendid life.


See the bee?

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