Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pussy Willow Rev 3

It’s the first thing I see when I walk into the house,as far back as I can remember, from the moment I was tall enough to see the top of our dining room table. Maple. Matching buffet. Oval. Every night we would drop the leaves, and tuck it against the wall after dinner, to clear a path to the kitchen.



My mother loved to garden.All year long, she would pick a bloom or branch that was in season Hydrangeias, Camelias, Roses. Behind the garage, along the fence behind the trash cans, we had pussy willow plants. Whe they were starting to show signs of blooming, she would place a few stems in a tall rectangular vase, bases impaled on a metal floral frog, neatly in place, with an Asian aura.


The blooms on pussy willows are little white furry ovals spaced along a graceful brown stem. They start out as bumps , gradually grow more prominent, and then pop open revealing the furry bud hidden inside.


I remember popping the buds off the stem by grabbing it between a thumb and forefinger and pulling them up. More effort that removing fragrant thyme leaves off their stem to spice up a dish.


I used to brush the furry buds across my cheeks, just because they were soft. I wonder if everyone did this, instinctively. I have always loved the way they looked.


In the spring, we had bowls of floating gardenias; the peppery smell of the leaves contrasting with the intense, fragrant smell of the gorgeous white blooms. I would sit on the front porch and let the sharp, sweet scent surround me in the late afternoon breeze. They would last for days, floating quietly in their tranquil pool. The whole front part of the house would be perfumed- too strong at first, but gradually fading as the flowers grew limp and the edges were lined in brown.


©SharonJCorrigan 2010

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