Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What is the Smell of April?

We are at the height of spring right now and I do mean height. Here in the Triple Cities of upstate NY, spring is an all or nothing affair-a two week production of everything blooming and then...sometimes back to winter or almost-spring. After 4 record high days in a row and one almost record high day, every flower in sight is in a race to bloom and then be gone. Daffodils, tulips, forsythia, weeping cherry, crab apple, hyacinth, bleeding hearts, primroses, even early azaleas.

Last Saturday, spouse and I were exercise walking on the Vestal Rail Trail to enjoy the show. This is a very popular walking spot in our area - you can find out more at

I smelled something sweet and couldn't identify it. I could smell it on a couple of places on the trail. I wasn't sure it was a flowering tree because I had never smelled anything quite like that before.

Spouse remarked "have you ever noticed that April doesn't smell like June?" Not that this comment helped me out any.

That got me to thinking, though. Childhood memories are sometimes the strongest, especially as you grow older.

My childhood memory of the smell of April isn't one of flowers at all.

Every April, growing up in the Bronx, it would rain. And after every rain, torrents (herds? tons? what is a lot of earthworms called?) of earthworms would emerge, crawl onto the sidewalk, and die there. I'd be walking to school and try so hard not to step on them.

It is the smell of right-after-rain-in-early-1960's-Bronx that, to me, smells like April.

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