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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dogwood Daze

It’s a straight shot east along Interstate-40 from Nashville to my parents’ (former) home on the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Tennessee. All in all, about a two-hour ride.

I had departed my house early that afternoon (ever tardy, ever clumsily disorganized), leaving Chicago’s urban grit behind to visit my folks. I had already spent eight hours on the road when I turned left from Nashville and headed east. The day had disappeared behind my back and the air began to cool. Night swallowed me whole. I had grown numb hours ago from the vibrations coursing from the handlebars through my fingers, hands and arms. No matter how much one may love riding a motorcycle...those flights in the wind...
it all gets to be a bit much after a while. I felt bone-tired. I simply wanted to knock on their door and hug and kiss my way inside.

An hour into this last leg, I began the slow climb onto the plateau.
The air changed as I ascended almost imperceptibly. I caught a whiff of dogwood (it was spring). It then dawned on my nose that this was more than a mere whiff. In fact, the air grew ever more redolent of dogwood. It grew saturated with dogwood. I came to feel as if I were knifing through an aroma cloud, the most fragrant and refreshing air
I had ever inhaled. If Heaven has a scent, well, this could have most certainly been that. My weariness dissolved in that heavenly scent.
I was lost in scent, in love with scent, one with the dogwoods. Never had I been so enamored with the mere act of breathing (and never since). Time and miles morphed to perfume and reverie until, at last, I reached my destination, feeling as if I had experienced a miracle.

I hugged and kissed my way inside, and I felt blessed.

* * *


Blogger deb said...


Sun Mar 15, 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

It was...beyond lovely, actually...mystical.

Sun Mar 15, 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Selma said...

I have never had the pleasure of smelling dogwood but from your description it sounds heavenly. This was a road trip that was ethereal in nature. Just lovely!

Mon Mar 16, 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Most of my road trips have been ethereal, Selma. That's why I am ever-filled with wanderlust.

Even so, I drift back to this particular sojourn often, for it was truly unique. Funny how a scent can linger for decades.

Mon Mar 16, 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger citizen of the world said...

That part of Tennessee is ahead of us - we haven't quite made it to dogwood season yet. It's one of my favorite times - they are such a gorgeous tree.

(And next time you make the trek to your parent's home you should let me know - it's only a couple hours west of me, I could drive over amd meet you for lunch or something.)

Mon Mar 16, 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

Jonas, this is beautiful, beautiful. I'd love to smell something like that, if only once.

Mon Mar 16, 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

deep breath

Mon Mar 16, 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger joanne said...

i find that scent does have a mystical quality to it, for the way it lingers in my memory... a brief smell of someone's cologne or a hot dog cooking on a fire... it's like a time machine back to a person or place ... a memory that is less like a memory and more like "reality"...

i am very lacking in my ability to recognize the fragrances of nature so if i have had the pleasure of the scent of dogwood i would only know it again by its familiarity but not by its name...

this weekend i spent some time among blooming wildflowers which brought so many fragrances to me as gifts... as i was lying in a field of poppies i felt like at once like Dorothy and like a bunny with a twitching nose...

thank you for sharing your memories... your poetry transports me into my own little world of remembering...

Mon Mar 16, 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger lu said...

Dogwood blooms beat pear blooms hands down.

Mon Mar 16, 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Jon, this reminds me of my home town, Palestine, Texas -- in deep east Texas. Its sole claim to "fame" are the beautiful Dogwood Trails and Dogwood Festival that come to life there every spring.

Dogwoods have always meant spring/renewal to me -- so beautiful, and so short-lived. But we can always look foward to seeing them again next year ...

Tue Mar 17, 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Voyager said...

Beautiful post Jonas. I found my way here from citizen of the world. My backyard dogwood is still another month away from blooming. And it does not have much scent. Maybe our Pacific Dogwoods are a different kind?

Tue Mar 17, 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

My parents are both gone now, Citizen. That reverie is more than 20 years old; although, at times, I can still smell the dogwoods.

But...if I should have occasion to travel to those parts again, I'd surely love to share a rainbow meal.

I've experienced such fragrant beauty only once myself. I'm glad you enjoyed my reverie, Ms. Window.

Yes, Ms. Cheese, it's good to inhale beauty as deeply as one can.

Thank you for sharing your own lyrical thoughts, Joanne.

I don't think I can identify the scent of pear blossoms, lu. Even though I had a pear tree in my backyard, I can't recall a notable scent.

You made me smile, Ed. I'd rather fancy living in a town renowned for beautiful blooms. I had the pleasure of being in Washington, DC one year, when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Breathtaking.

Hello, Voyager! Glad you sailed in. I can't opine about dogwood varietals. I'm not that sophisticated. All I know is that I was in just the right place at just the right time...when magic happened.

Wed Mar 18, 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger Great Lakes Romances said...

I googled "scent of dogwood" and this came up. Beautifully done! I needed a reminder for my fictional story of 1830, Erie Canal, where dogwoods bloom beside the towpath. You gave me a beautiful word picture. Heavenly. Can't beat that! :)

Mon Feb 06, 05:39:00 AM  

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