Early spring in my neighborhood in Los Angeles, California is a heavenly time to lay 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. This past week I spent thirty minutes picking up many of the tiny, paper thin blossoms that had fallen from the trees. Seeing them from the ground in clumps is deceiving. Only when I was squatted on the ground did I truly appreciate how little the blossoms are. It takes quite a number of them to fill even the smallest package. But I carried on determined and stayed bent over, squatting and kneeling under my orange trees until I’d picked up hundreds, cramming the teeny zip lock baggie full 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 mother has done in her 96 years, of all the places she’s traveled throughout the world, she shared in a recent nightly telephone conversation, that she has never once smelled orange blossoms. As I sealed the envelop 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 zip lock package, 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.