I sprayed the weeds along my driveway with weed killer this afternoon, and while I was aiming for the heart of a dandelion I thought about all of the little kids who have brought me handfuls of dandelions. Then I slashed the teensy tiny purple flowers with a dose of poison. As I was killing that little purple weed, I thought about I like the smell of them, but my Uncle Roy thought they smelled like cat piss.
During early spring in Idaho, the tiny purple flower weed blooms in waves--it is one of the first signs that spring is really going to arrive. They bloom when the days get up to about 65-70, and the nights don't drop below thirty, and as soon as it gets warm enough, I through open the windows and doors to drive out the smell of a long winter--and that purple flower smell wafts through the house.
Maybe Uncle Roy is right, and they do smell like cat piss--but to me they smell like early spring with a hint of a summertime promise full of roses and lavender.
As I was drowning the ones that had the audacity to grow in my gravel driveway, I considered that I don't think of those little purple flowers as weeds, and the only reason that I am killing them is that they will turn into thorns by mid-summer, and they are unsightly in the circle drive.
I am also allergic to those little purple flowers, which reminds me that the Russian Olive Tree that I planted outside my bedroom window will be blooming soon, and the smell of the tiny yellow blossoms make me swoon, they remind me of humid Missouri nights, cold beers and fireflies. The smell of the tree stimulates my early memories of Martin.
When I bought the Russian Olive Tree, it was a twelve inch long stick--I got it for $5 because it didn't look like it would survive, in it's first year of life friend's suggested I need to pull the big weed. Now it is a monster that I planted to close to the house (we will probably sustain eventual foundation damage) and I am allergic to it.
When the little yellow flowers bloom, I close my eyes and breath deep and practically swoon at how wonderful they smell, then my nose clogs up, my eyes slam shut and I become a snot factory.
The thing about the Russian Olive, is that I love the smell of it so much, that it is worth the snot factory that it causes. I am willing to suffer a few weeks of discomfort for the scent and because it is large enough now to offer some privacy in my backyard.
The Russian Olive and the little purple are both essentially weeds, in that they are both filled with thorns, and they both damage the man made structures that are built around them--the have a similar shaped flower the difference is that the Russian Olive's is yellow.
I thought of my Uncle Roy when I was killing the purple flowers in my driveway, and I figured that he would be proud of me for doing so--he would have asked why I hadn't gotten to it sooner.
I have been eyeing the Russian Olive for signs of life, it is starting to swell with buds and I know it will be popping soon. I both dread and anticipate the arrival of it's flowers, I know I will experience olfactory joy for awhile before the inevitable reality of my allergic reaction steps in. The Russian Olive smells like humid Missouri nights with fireflies courting and kisses that taste like cold beer.
I am pretty sure there is a pretty deep meaning in the idea of the Russian Olive and the little purple weeds and how I relate them to men that have been important to me. Maybe some correlation between my ease with the Roundup on the purple flowers and the ease with which I remember what my Uncle Roy would have told me--so that it like a message from heaven--
And my certainty that there are a lot of aspects of the Russian Olive tree that pleasurable; those first few hours of the scent are divine, the privacy is great--but it is going to make my eyes water, and if I get to close to it the thorns will tear me up.