Monday, May 24, 2004

On Saturday, it hailed with a fury on Birds Island. Only pea-sized, it wasn't dangerous and we were snug inside the house so I didn't even bother to go out and see exactly how much it might hurt to stand and get pelted by pellets of ice. Nonetheless, it was impressive, lasting nearly half an hour, and the ground was white with it afterwards, almost like snow.

Winter is so reluctant to give up the ghost.

Amazingly, the great wild beds of lily of the valley in the yard were undamaged. Inside the house, all it took was a small handful of those tiny white bells gathered by me, the husband and A., the assistant director, to perfume the whole room. It brought my mother to mind, sharply: a black and white dress, her hair stiff and her lips painted a brilliant orange, the scent of Muguet des Bois mixed with the scent of hairspray. Bittersweet, that smell, just like my eight-year-old self felt at the excitement and disappointment and worry of my parents going out for the evening.

The sense of smell is, without a doubt, the most able to spur memories. Smell and taste, I suppose.

The Swedish word for the day is lillgammal, which would loosely translate as precocious, as in a precocious child, although it is a more negative word.

- by Francis S.

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