Sunday, May 20, 2012

HONEYSUCKLE


Evening. The temperatures is slowly backing off after reaching an unseasonable 87˚F high, which made today feel more like mid-June. Robins are still poking and prodding the new-turned soil where Myladylove has been transplanting, weeding, and digging new flower beds all day. A cardinal is whistling in the cedars. The river is all in shadows, even to the tops of the highest bankside sycamores—though the slice of sky above is still fairly bright. Time to sit a spell and rest, to watch the light give way as another day fades into night.

The cooling air is redolent with the spicy fragrance of roses and the sweet scent of honeysuckle. I know it's not fashionable to say so—non-native honeysuckles being such a terrible invasive…which they truly are, no question—but there's still a boyhood part of me that never fails to remember the vast tangle of honeysuckle growing in the alley along the far end of the backyard behind my parents' house. 

On early-summer evenings, when the lightening bugs were just beginning to twinkle in the deepest shadows under the big spirea hedge, the cooling air filled the gloaming with the honeysuckle's wonderful perfume. As all semi-countryfied youngsters of that era did, we neighborhood kids often stood around the dense patch, plucking off yellow honeysuckle blooms, after which we pulled out the flower's center stem and licked off the sweet drop of nectar which formed at the bloom-trumpet's base. 
 
Some of us, having remained a good bit childish, still do that—and the tiny drop of nectar tastes just as honey-sweet. 

Now, too, all these decades later, all it takes is a whiff…and I'm transported back to that yard and alley. To a time when life was simple, love was all around, and twilight's darkness held only the most benevolent magic. 
——————— 


  

22 comments:

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ - oh my, yes, that sweet thick nectar on the end of the stem - mmmmmm, your post took me back as well - I can see the long tangled honeysuckle vines- patch along the bridge near the end of our road - we all enjoyed the suckle as kids - and the scent is divine. I don't see much these days near here but I remember the taste and feel and scent like it was yesterday.
thanks for the memory, which, I might add, we shared this same time last year. Looks like you and I have a history. Indeed we do!
Loving you and our honeysuckle memories
Gail
peace....

Debbie said...

Thanks so much for your encouraging comment on my blog post. Now, regarding the honeysuckle. Some years ago when we moved here I planted several bits along the fence and it had spread and grown into a beautiful and fragrant privacy border between yards. This year as it started to bloom, it also started to die. I can't figure out for the life of me what happened. Nothing around it seems effected. I am just sick about it and I'm sure the hummingbirds and butterflies and bees feel the same way. Any ideas?
Debbie

AfromTO said...

We used to pull out the lilac flower from it's base and suck out the nectar of the lilacs.Or squeeze the snapdragon so the mouth would speak.I wonder if children today know of these simple pleasures?Glad you are happily ticking away.

Rowan said...

I love the scent of honeysuckle, it grows wild in the woods around here but so far there is no sign whatever of the flowers, it's been so wet and cold that everything is way behind. Still, we have that pleasure still to come and hopefully the weather is going to look up a bit this week too.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Ahh-h, memories…they get better and more precious with age. And I have good memories of honeysuckle. But honeysuckle can be a serious invasive problem—especially bush honeysuckle. Which is not the same as the vining honeysuckle that smells so sweet and tastes so delightful, although that one, too, can overstep its bounds. But bush honeysuckle can, and does, simply take over and ruin a woods or shady border. If I had my choice of one invasive species to eliminate forever from the Eastern U.S., it would be bush honeysuckle.

However, that said, I still love the smell and taste and memories of Japanese honeysuckle—and around here, it's the bush honeysuckle I stay at war with.

Hey, I didn't remember posting anything about honeysuckles last year. Guess I should have checked back and not repeated myself.

What's worse…it's probably a sure sign of creeping geezerhood when a fellow begins repeating himself.

What's worse…it's probably a sure sign of creeping geezerhood when a fellow begins repeating himself.

Grizz………… said...

Debbie…

You're welcome re. post comment. I'd admire you for taking your stand—putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Courage to stand by your convictions is a rare trait in this day of all-encompassing stand-for-nothing political correctness.

As to your dying honeysuckle…can't say I ever heard of such a problem. Quite the opposite. Honeysuckle is typically a plant that keeps on living and thriving in spite of what you do or want. The only thing I can think that might be going on—and this is just a thought, not a pronouncement of judgement—is that I'd be prone to suspect that whoever lives on the other side of the honeysuckle hedge, for whatever reason, might have sprayed some systemic herbicide on a few leaves, or on some small, broken-off stems. Either would be pretty unnoticeable until the damage was done and the plants sickened.

Just a thought—and both unchritable and unfounded.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Huh. Didn't know you could do that with lilacs, too. Mine are all but gone for the season—but maybe I can still find a bloom or two to try.

I'm happy to be ticking along—and ticking along very nicely, if I do say so. I'm feeling really good. Thank you.

Grizz………… said...

Rowan…

It seems so odd, you having a cold, wet, delayed spring, while we've had something that was almost spring from February on and a real spring that's more like summer. And it's not even June yet! But the sweet scent of blooming honeysuckle is certainly worth the wait.

Hildred and Charles said...

We planted a golden honey-suckle along the back fence yesterday and I look forward to enjoying it for years and years and years...... I noticed this spring that the East Indian fellow who bought a previous property we owned, with a lovely garden, has taken out the honeysuckle, but thankfully left the golden trumpet flower, the star magnolia and the korean viburnum (whose scent sends me back years to happy younger days). A fragrance, a phrase, a bit of music, - they all have the power of transporting us to early times....

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ your "geezergood" looks, feels, sounds, really great from this 'geezerette's perspective :-)
Love you man
Gail
peace......

Grizz………… said...

Hildred and Charles…

Yup, it certainly doesn't take much of one the strong memory "triggers" you mentioned to make time fall away. We get imprinted with certain sights, smells, sounds, tastes—and like the old Brylcream jingle, "a little dab will do ya."

I hope your golden honeysuckle does well and that you receive many years of pleasure from its flowers and perfume.

Scott said...

A natural madeleine, huh Grizz?

The same thing happens to me when, on a hot, dry, sunny afternoon, I catch a whiff of hot pine, and instantly I'm back in a western Ponderosa forest on vacation. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's wonderful!

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Geezerette? Nahhh…not for years yet. Geezerette apprentice, maybe.

Quick, what was Hopalong Cassidy's horse's name—and no looking on the Internet. See, you don't know—ergo, you're not old enough to be a geezer.

Apprentice geezerette, and be glad. I rest my case. ;~)

Gail said...

you get me - I had no clue - and I did a typo - I meant to retype your word for yourself - "geezerhood", not "geezergood" but it seems both made sense, :-) and thanks so much for seeing me as a youngun of sorts -
wow
love you
me

Grizz………… said...

Scott…

Indeed, a remembrance of things past. And I know, too, that sharp scent of sun-warmed pine…though not from a western Ponderosa forest, but the white, red, and jack pines along the remote tannin-stained streams of northern Michigan where the lovely brook trout hides. I've spent some time in Ponderosa country, but only a fraction of the time I have in the north country…and that's what holds my heart. When I catch a whiff of needle resin, it often carries such power that I ache to be wading one of those vast, dim forests waters.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

You're welcome. No use thinking of yourself as "over the hill" until you've reached the crest. (BTW, that equine moniker would be Topper.)

Jain said...

Now how did I know you would find something positive to say about honeysuckle (the bane of my existence)? I admire your positive slant on things.

Grizz………… said...

Jain…

Only the viny stuff (Japanese); I'm no fan of bush honeysuckle, and speaking as a naturalist, no real fan of any of the imports. But, I can't help what triggers good memories, either—kinda like fond recollections of that old uncle who wore silk ties and smoked cigars, or the venerable catfisherman who taught you how to catch flatheads and wafted slightly of burbon.

Don't think I'm such a blind-to-reality admirer that I'm above waging honeysuckle war here along the riverbank…

Robin said...

Grizz,

Wish I'd written this..."To a time when life was simple, love was all around, and twilight's darkness held only the most benevolent magic. " Glad you did.

Love both the evening moment and word 'Twilight'.
.......

On a practical note... we've gotten Cape Honeysuckle into the garden center. It's orange and people love it.

.......

And just the other day I told someone about licking up the nectar as a child. The person I was speaking to now thinks I'm crazy.

Too much of the old/real world is passing into accepted oblivion.

I'm getting tired of it.

Gail said...

Topper! who knew? not even Skipp - I will tell him tho :-)

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

First off, thank you…I hope I caught the moment for you.

Re. your Cape Honeysuckle, I don't know that species, though I have a couple of ornamental honeysuckles here—in addition to bush and Japanese—that are not something I recognize to name…so maybe I have it. There's a native species, Trumpet Honeysuckle, that I'd love to get started here—a nice climbing vine type, sweet smell, orange flowers.

"Too much of the old/real world is passing into accepted oblivion." Too true and too sad to contemplate. That would, of course, be our old/real world, from a time so far removed from now that it seems an impossible dream. Tired? Maybe…or perhaps its just the soul's awareness of time taking us in the wrong direction, when our hearts want to turn around, go back, and reclaim something important we left back in that older life.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Hey, I can tell you the names of at least a dozen silver-screen horses, several dogs, sing all the words to theme songs, do jingles, etc.—the list is long and astonishing. But about half the time when asked for my cell phone number, I have to dig through the thing's menues and look it up. Go figure. :-\