the week before mother's day, stopped at the farm stand to get some plants to adorn the entrance of our home. nothing fancy, just some pansies and geraniums and a hanging pot of petunias. this was the first time I put a plant into a pot since my divorce. weird.
as a drove home, back of the car loaded with fruits, fresh local dairy products and a couple of small boxes with plants, the most amazing scent wafted through the car. it was the geraniums. the scent was as pungent and soothing as any of the other times I've inhaled that distinctive fragrance.
time travel backwards, 1980ish, Bridgehampton NY...
it was our first summer in the new house on Mecox Bay. previously, we had rented homes around the Hamptons in the summer, but this was the first summer I'd have my own room, my own stuff, a place for my stuffed animals and toys, a room that was mine to decorate how I like. we were very familiar with the area, the stops we made along the way for hot dogs, ice cream and ... the Green Thumb farm stand. as my dad picked out local eats from the conveyor belt, my mother would meticulously pick the annual geraniums that would adorn the pots in front of our house.
each year they were carefully selected in either deep salmon, or bright red.
as we arrived the week before Memorial Day to ready the house for the summer, my mother would plant the geraniums that would flourish all summer long. she cared for them lovingly with miracle grow, water, and care. they would happily respond by blooming straight through to the first frosts.
the expressive scent wafted through my nose each and every time we entered our house, it was a signal that summer had arrived.
while I could share all kinds of memories, something about my mother's summer geraniums brought me a little feeling of arrival, that I had made it to the sweetness of summer days.
when I grew up, and became a dweller of my own abodes, I'd do the same thing ... each spring, I'd plant pots of flowers around the entrance of my apartment, and always loved to make sure there were crimson geraniums to nurture throughout the season. I did this from apartment to apartment, city to city, dwelling to dwelling... and when I got engaged and moved in with my husband, and our house, and the houses after until... we got divorced.
for the next years, I've kept a few pots, thinking one day I'd fill them with flowers in the spring, but never did. I've always felt this state of 'divorce' was temporary, and that I'd have someone to plant for... someday.
well, there isn't anyone new, no visitors per say but I just instinctively knew, this year, I was planting geraniums.
they are in the pots outside, soaking in sun, permiating their scent, beaconing summer. I planted them for me, to bring me that feeling I remember from so long ago, when my mom was still capable of nurturing something. and now, I'm nurturing myself.