father’s day: 1 post

The Honeysuckle Hour

Lauren, whom you’ve met when she talked about the role of a fragrance evaluator, returns today with a testament to the strength of scent memories. The Honeysuckle Hour is also a tribute to her father.

I am walking, gliding along a paved path atop a river bank, staring coolly into the steamy, tangled vegetation, noting the various plants my parents have taught me to identify: tulip poplar, poison ivy, maple, dwarf maple, river birch… and honeysuckle.  I smell it from thirty feet away, the sweetness that is sophisticated but light; indulgent but sparkling; nostalgic but still fresh.  As I pause in my walk to breathe in the honeysuckle’s perfume, standing like a conductor before an orchestra, I realize: this scent will hurt me the most, if I am here and my father is gone.


One breath of honeysuckle amid these densely-packed leaves, and in a cloud of fragrance I land directly in my past: standing on a dock at the lake, my father meeting with a stranger, shaking hands over uncomfortably long, reedy boats gently bobbing on the waves.  They’re called shells.  I’m supposed to climb in one and try rowing – although each moving part is three times my height, and I’ve never commanded anything with a sliding seat.   I’m nervous and scared, feeling every inch the awkward new teenager that I am; but mostly, I’m afraid to fail my dad.

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