There are days that begin like any other – wake the boys, fix the breakfast, pack the lunches, drive the carpools – that then unfold with the most unexpected delight. Not all surprises are good ones, I know, but sometimes the unanticipated delivers a burst of joy. Last week a friend, a good friend who will not flinch at the mention of either silver polish or faltering faith, sent Meyer Lemons from California with no warning. I sliced the top of the box with the kitchen scissor and unrolled the stiff paper bag releasing the citrus scent laced with sweetness. I tipped them into the box and bent at the waist to breathe it in.
Careful not to waste the bounty, I plotted and planned, flipping pages of cookbooks to look for recipes appealing, yet unfamiliar. I hadn’t baked with lemon before, though I love it. Lemon Marmalade? Well, I’d never, though now I have and will again. The fact that no one else would like it made it better, bore the same satisfaction that ordering Milk Duds at the movie did as a kid. (My sister didn’t like them so I didn’t have to share.)
A little left, enough for muffins, surely, though I saved it for cocktails and toasted the giver.
And then, as if the universe knew that winter had ground on a little too long, another gentleman pressed a bouquet of flowers into my hands as we parted. I can’t be sure that this is so, but I do not think that hyacinths and I had been previously introduced. I’m pretty sure we never met (though perhaps our cousins went to camp together) and now, I cannot imagine life without them, so heavenly is their scent.
I carry them with me from room to room, nuzzling their rubbery blooms. I am intoxicated by them. The idea of hyacinths comforted me through the lines of a poem I kept tacked to my cubicle wall a lifetime ago:
I thought it was the beauty of the blooms that inspired the poet, but now I realize they delight the soul not only at each sight, but with each breath.
Fruit and flowers and friends are carrying me through to Spring.