Early spring in my neighborhood in Los Angeles is a heavenly time to lie in bed at night with the windows open. The orange trees in front of my apartment building are blooming. Orange blossoms, while fragrant during the day, become intoxicating at night. The sweet perfume wafts invisibly in on the light evening breeze and collects heavily within my room.
For such a powerful fragrance, orange blossoms are actually very small. One sunny day I spent thirty minutes picking up many of the tiny, paper-thin blooms that had fallen from the trees. Seeing them from below is deceiving. Only when I was squatted on the ground did I truly appreciate how little the flowers are. It takes quite a number of them to fill even the smallest package. But I carried on, determined. Squatting and kneeling under my orange trees, I picked up hundreds of blossoms, cramming them into a teeny ziplock baggie until it was bursting. I found a cheerful greeting card, put the sealed package of orange blossoms inside, and mailed it to my mother. With everything my mother has done in life, of all the places she’s traveled throughout the world, she confessed that she had not once smelled orange blossoms.
As I sealed the envelope, I felt the excitement of her surprise at opening the card. Of her wondering for a moment what in the world I’d sent her. Of her opening the teeny ziplock bag, and for the first time breathing deeply, taking in the intoxicating fragrance, the smell of my love for her in the form of orange blossoms.
I’ve learned that acts of kindness provide me deep contentment. Knowing I helped brighten someone’s day makes my heart feel full long after the event itself has passed.