Memory Lane: “a sentimental journey through one’s memories of a past time, experiences, etc.”
While contemplating on a beautiful blooming Bougainvillea, I can’t help but take a quick trip down memory lane. A time in my life when I was a child, around 8 years old, when I had no idea or did it even matter what time of day or night it was.
I reverted back to my maternal great grandparent’s house; just a block away from our home. Their house sat on a corner lot, surrounded by a large backyard which housed cows, horses, chickens, plants along with other farm animals. Two wooden logs, at least 5 feet long each, were supported by rocks with extra wood for added stability since they were used for seating purposes. They had a square front door made out of metal with stained clear glass panels. The house was very spacious; a long hallway, a large dining area with a modest kitchen. To this day, I can close my eyes and vividly see the blue’s, green’s, turquoise colors in addition to the shiny, clean floor tile. Their home was always welcoming, just like every other home in town… the door was always open… it’s hard to recall if I ever saw it closed.
Great grandma “Lupe” had beautiful flowers, bushes, herbs plus shrubs along her back side of the house. She had hundreds of potted plants; jasmine, sage, daisies, geraniums, cosmos, dahlias, ferns, mint, begonias, azaleas, etc. Some where hanging while others just lined the side of the house in rows of rows of rows. While visiting, we always headed for the backyard to play. My favorite part when stepping outside was: feeling I was walking in a magical enchanted garden. The color contrast was incredible; blues, whites, bright reds, hot pink, yellows in addition to green… everywhere. The smell was delightful, almost as perfume – at least I thought of it that way. Usually, it was cool on the back porch, since great grandma always watered her plants. It’s soft smell of wet soil was so invigorating, it relaxed you. At times, I would softly caress some plants to release their aroma then, I would pretend walking into a perfume shop, carefully selecting the most delicate fragrance of my favorite “eau de toilette”.
Most of the plants were potted… in cans. A tall spearmint grew out of a large metal can which original contained jalapeno peppers. Coffee cans were also a favorite; usually full of geraniums in numerous colors as well as sizes. Old metal pails exploded with long, dark green leafy ferns. Oregano, oozing out of a can originally containing powdered milk was seen flowing almost stream-like. There were no unattractive flowers, each and every single one of them was beautiful, patiently waiting to be admired.
My favorites were the Bougainvillea vines that grew around the posts or poles; I envied how tall they got as well as how long they lasted in full bloom. I tried to be as cautious as possible around them since their spiky long thorns are thick yet extremely sharp – lot’s of blood was shed! The actual flowers are generally white, minuscule, as a consequence: very delicate. Each contains three flowers surrounded by three to six thin, almost paper like bracts. Interestingly weird enough, they are mostly odorless. Nonetheless, the purple and pink were my favorite – they looked amazing on my braided long hair. I felt the most beautiful with flowers in my head. Their beauty someway seeped through me: it made me smile until my heart was content.
I would spend hours contemplating, smelling, picking and admiring the garden. Such simple action brought extreme pleasure and happiness to me that it would sadden me when it was time to go home. Luckily, I would be back soon enough to do it again, then again and again… for all I knew: life is so simple!
Lately, reverting to “old memory lane”, has been very rewarding for me, as reflected on this piece. As I have grown older, the more nostalgic I become while yearning for maintain vivid pieces of my past.