April 23, 2006
Each night before I turn in for bed, I check in on Graham, pulling covers up over his out sprawled arms and legs, smoothing back a lock of hair and allowing the caress of a tender cheek to wipe away the dayâ€™s frustrations and cares â€“ both his and mine.
Graham sleeping. (Click image for larger)
As I lean in to give him a good night kiss, I sniff deeply of that heady aroma of sleeping child â€“ sweat and sunshine, shampoo and joy. And I know in the very marrow of my bones that This Child is Mine.
Iâ€™ve read that smell is the most potent of the senses, attaching itself to events so powerfully that even a faint whiff of a scent can bring back long-forgotten memories.
It also acts as a recognition device, a reinforcement of maternal process. Even the day after Graham was born, I could have chosen him from an array of other babies, just from his individual scent.
I think itâ€™s an ancient response for women, going back to when we were simple primates. Have you ever noticed that when a baby is presented to a gaggle of women, almost the first thing each one of them will do when handed the child is to hold the baby close and take a deep sniff? We all laugh that we â€śjust love the smell of new babyâ€? but what weâ€™re really doing is testing for recognition. We sniff and think, â€śYep, this smells good but itâ€™s not mine.â€?
That imprint of aroma is like olfactory DNA, something so unique and singular that it cannot be replicated. Every animal mother can tell her child from the all others in a herd, even when there are hundreds of them.
So at night, when mothers everywhere tuck their little ones in to bed, we can sleep in peace, too, because we know This Child is Mine.
A motherâ€™s nose knows, and itâ€™s never wrong.
With all the chartreuse leaves popping out on trees and cheery yellow daffodils in bloom, a gardenâ€™s deeper purple flowers and foliage can make a welcome change.
This spring my gardens contain wild prairie crocus...
Wild prairie crocus. (Click image for larger)
...snakeâ€™s head fritillary...
Snakeâ€™s head fritillary. (Click image for larger)
...and grape hyacinth.
Grape hyacinth. (Click image for larger)
From emerging hosta shoots...
Hosta shoots. (Click image for larger)
...to the ruffled edges of â€śPlum Puddingâ€? heuchera...
â€śPlum Puddingâ€? heuchera. (Click image for larger)
...and the stalks of â€śHusker Redâ€? pensetemon,
â€śHusker Redâ€? pensetemon. (Click image for larger)
...purplish leaves also add color and form.
And donâ€™t forget the punch provided by the bright fuschia of Turkish tulips...
Turkish tulips. (Click image for larger)
...and waxy-leaved bergenia.
Bergenia. (Click image for larger)
What Iâ€™m Reading
Browsing through: â€śFoliage: Dramatic and Subtle Leaves for the Gardenâ€? by David Joyce.
Listening to: â€śDragonfly in Amber â€“ Part 1â€? by Diana Gabaldon. Continuing the tale of romantic Scottish time travel.
Grahamâ€™s current favorite: â€śOwen & Mzee: the True Story of a Remarkable Friendshipâ€? by Isabella Hatkoff and â€śWhat Do Illustrators Do?â€? by Eileen Christelow.
Graham and I were out running errands one night last week when it began to rain quite hard. We rushed from a store to the van, trying not to get wet. As I buckled him into his booster seat, most of my body still outside the van, Graham said, â€śOh, the water makes everything sparkle, even your butt.â€?
While walking down to Big Park on Medicine Lake, Graham said, â€śI think the Seven Wonders of the World is wrong. Howler monkeys should be on that list because when they howl it can be heard for seven miles.â€? Then he demonstrated by hooting at the top of his lungs, startling a nearby walker.
Grahamâ€™s class has been studying art for the past two weeks, and every day he brings home artwork that he has done in the style of Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt and others. One day, he announced, â€śMy favorite artist today is Andy Warthog.â€?
I've never heard them called prairie crocus before; I've only known them as pasque flower. I want some of these for my garden but I am having a hard time finding a suitable place.
Posted by: Sylvana at June 10, 2006 8:28 AM