Tastes and Smells of Spring

On a morning last week when the sun had risen high enough to brighten my apartment, I heard songbirds from the courtyard eleven floors below. Spring! I felt a deep longing to be out in the midst of nature. That feeling lingered all day.

I called my three brothers and my sister in turn. What do you remember about the smells and tastes of spring on our farm? I asked each one.

Bill in Illinois answered his cell when he was about to enter the market where he’d stopped to pick up some fruit.

“I remember, when stepping out onto our South Porch, the smell of the wet chips beneath the basswood tree and the fragrant aroma of the lilac blossoms that grew a few yards away. Those scents combined to make—” he paused for a moment, “—a special sweet perfume.”

John picked up the phone in Indiana. He remembers the long-awaited end to winter’s frigid bite. And recalls how when he left the house first thing in the morning, the air felt soft and caressed his skin.

Helen, talking to me from the kitchen of her house in Minnesota, still vividly recalls sitting on the Big Rock preparing to bait her hook, and the distinctive scent that wafted out when she opened the tin can and pulled a worm from the damp earth.

In North Dakota, Bob excused himself from his breakfast partners at the local hang-out café and stepped into its lobby to hear me better. As we talked he remembered our mother’s salad made from the first lettuce of the season and the indescribable taste of those leaves topped with the dressing she’d prepared.

I remember watching our mother as she tossed it together. My father and brothers were seated at the table waiting to be served, but in this task she would not be hurried.  Carefully, methodically she worked to blend all of the brown sugar granules and flecks of dry mustard into a small bowl of cream, separated from our cow’s milk, that she’d purposefully allowed to sour on the kitchen counter.

At four years old I was aware of the tension emanating from the other room where my father and brothers waited impatiently. It was planting season, and they were anxious to get back to the fields. Even at that age I was amazed at my mother’s serenity as she performed this ritual of Spring. 

© Barbara Scoblic 2019