At a certain point in late spring a couple of flowering trees on my usual route home fill the air with sweet perfume. They stand in a most unlikely spot on Sherman Avenue just north of the freeway overpass. Not a scenic location, not a spot where a lot of pedestrians pass by to appreciate their beautiful scent, not in a park or someone’s carefully planned garden. They stand in a planting strip between the sidewalk and the parking lot of a very small commercial building.
It’s a good spot for people on bikes, though, on a fairly quiet stretch that takes you to the bike lanes that begin a block south and run up the South Hill. In the 5-1/2 years we’ve lived in our house I have looked forward to their scent and enjoyed it as I ride home. I don’t notice it as strongly on the way to work because I’m on the other side of the street, so the scent represents not only a particular place but a particular moment in my day.
Their smell also reminds me of the honey locust trees that grew in the back yard of my childhood home in Lewiston. It was in one of those trees that my brothers built a treehouse so high up–and with no railing–that I look back in wonder at my free-range childhood and my mother’s willingness to let us run free, take chances, and have fun, an attitude I’ve tried to bring to my parenting.
This year I thought I’d somehow missed their flowering, which seemed odd. Riding home this week, though, I’ve realized they’re just blooming much later than usual because we had such a long, cold May and June. They are filling the air with perfume for me in the last two weeks I’ll ride this route before moving to Seattle.
Thanks for the goodbye present, Spokane.
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- It’s All in the Attitude
- In Which I Give Thanks for Biking
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- What small moments do you appreciate on your rides?