Honeysuckle Blue

Driving around on my regular route these days brings that sickly sweet aroma in through the open windows and I can’t help but smile. There is something about the smell of fresh blooming honeysuckle that is magical. It grows up north, but I would have never known before my Uncle’s friend sent me home from my visit a few months ago with a five gallon bucket full of it to plant in my own yard. No, this smell is forever tied to balmy summer nights in the south. It takes me back to my first summer in Atlanta, to my high school days. Walking up the trail from the main part of campus to the underclassman parking lot. Sneaking around drinking and smoking in the woods behind our apartment complex. Late night swims and drives, full of laughter and tears and secrets and youth. I would call those the good old days….but…

The truth is that life has always been hard, and things have never worked out quite the way anyone intended, and there is no such thing as the good ol’ days, because it implies that there was something in that time that cannot be in this one, and that just isn’t the case. Or maybe I just refuse to believe that. Either way, no one will convince me otherwise.

Summer, for me, is the season of eternal youth. We all frolic in the sun, stay up too late, wear too little and say too much. The aroma of honeysuckle is the harbinger of that chance- to fall under the spell of the warm sun, humid air, and a kind of freedom I just can’t put my finger on. It sets us free from the trappings of reality, from bills and responsibility, pressure and disappointment, and makes us all teenagers again, if only for a moment. When I draw that scent from the air through my nose and straight to my heart and into my blood, no matter where I am or what I’m facing, for just a minute I’m barefoot, half-drunk, half dressed and moon-bathing at the pool with my friends.

I’ve always loved grabbing an overripe blossom, yellow with age, and pulling the stamen out to put the heavy drop of sticky sweetness on my tongue. If only life could always be so sweet.

Feel the southern breezes
and the southern wind

blowin’ down around this
dying land

D’Agostino’s late last night I saw
a boy fifteen on the road
nothing in the pocket
his hand to the sky
nowhere else to go

Can you see it
or believe it
what’s beyond east orange
and farther yet
come with me
I’ll show you where the
dogwoods bloom it’s true
lost n’ found n’ lost again
to the
Honeysuckle Blue

runnin’ through these
caverns of gold
runs a river of death indeed
an old hotel serves as a
shelter for children
of the street

abandoned by the promised land
set sail on your own
how much longer
will the well
be dry for those
who roam

i got a ticket
in my pocket
to send the corner man
he’s never been

have you ever seen the
Blue Ridge mountains boy
or the Chattahoochee
or the Honeysuckle Blue

Honeysuckle Blue-Drivin n Cryin’


5 Responses

  1. I totally know what you mean about thatt wonderful smell, but for me it’s lilac. My parent’s place used to have a gorgeous old lilac tree in the backyard and it bloomed like crazy at this time of year. Fat bees buzzed around our yard and the air was thick with that heavy familiar scent. I miss that tree a lot. My parent’s planted a new one when we moved, but it’s still just a baby.

  2. That was a beautiful post. Honeysuckle AND lilac remind me of home. The Porters, an elderly couple who lived next door to my parents (who will one day get their own blog post) had a huge honeysuckle bush that my sister and I would feast upon as kids.

    The lilac tree came crashing through my window one morning as I was getting dressed for school.

  3. I know what you mean. There’s something about this time of year that makes me itch to go camping, eat watermelon and make potato salad.
    Love that song!!!

  4. Great post. And I loved the pictures. Isn’t it amazing the sensation plants give us. Plants of all things.

  5. I’m not even sure I know what honeysuckle smells like…? I’ve been a city kid all my life.

    But from now on, thanks to this post, when someone tells me I’m smelling something that is a honeysuckle I will only remember to be young.

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