19.10.05

when lilacs last


Was just coming back from picking up my washing from the laundry where the guy told me he's ironed eighty shirts today but that's nothing, he used to iron 2000 of some other garment which he mimed for me but I couldn't understand what it was - trousers of some kind - when he worked for someone else, probably not here, probably in Vietnam although he might have said Thailand ... anyway, outside of Muse there was one of those slight mix-ups you get into on the street sometimes, two women were saying goodbye to one another and one of them stopped almost in front of me, I was feeling dreamy what with the rain just starting to fall and it being the late afternoon of a slow day, but I had enough presence of mind to sidestep in time and that brought me abreast of the second woman, the one who was going to be going my way. I heard the other say ... you're a strong country girl ... apropos of what I could not say and then I looked sideways and there in her bag, the country girl's bag, except she was no girl she was seventy perhaps with strong legs in thick white stockings, sensible shoes, more like a farmer's wife, in her bag was a bunch of lilac and I got the faintest whiff of it before I was past and going on by the Rio and Francois' Hair Salon which has some exotic name too but I can't remember what it is right now. Lilac. Every time I smell it I'm back on the front lawn at Burns Street. A country girl on her way home with health worries and a bunch of lilac which seems now like an unfashionable flower, you don't see it much in peoples' gardens here or maybe that's just because it prefers a colder climate, if it grew so profusely in Ohakune it must like the cold. I don't want to sentimentalise, I agree with what my cousin wrote once, somehow it never seems to be the right day/for nostalgia, but these scents just do ... send me. From the Greek, nostos, return home. Anyway, I'm back now, listening to a drunk who's sitting outside the building with his back to a street sign telling everyone what a great fighter he is. Maori guy by the sound of him. No way of knowing how he'll get home, guess eventually the cops will pick him up ... And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night ...

4 comments:

slave2love said...

Hey, guess what I picked a big bunch of, in my garden today? Timaru is cold enough...and now my hall smells just heavenly.

Martin Edmond said...

mmmm ... nice. so fragrant here, a wet spring & all the star jasmine is flowering at once. also the native frangi pani. & gardenias that seem to go all year round now.

~River~ said...

At this time of the year in Delhi, the fragrance of a flowering tree called the hasnahana envelopes the nights like a blanket...the flowers aren't much to look at--just tiny, white spots. But the smell...it's an indescribable smell. Whenever it hits me now, I am reminded of my first year in Delhi. It reminds me of being in love, being very happy...

Martin Edmond said...

noa noa was what the Tahitians called it ... fragrant life.