Honeysuckle in May

A half step out my front door the scent comes to me. Unmistakably. At once I’m on a porch in southwest Oklahoma, a kid visiting various relations, that honeysuckle climbing along my grandparents’ porch, me ducking wasps and avoiding doing the dishes. And I’m 42, on this porch in central Oklahoma escaping a pandemic, that honeysuckle over somebody’s garden fence, out of sight, out of reach.

Life feels altogether bifurcated. Past and present. Present and future. Then and now. Now and after. We are not ants caught in amber. We are not forevermore.

Threads connect the disparate parts of this life like the underside of a tapestry. It makes no sense, the honeysuckle now leading me back to the honeysuckle then. The scent driving a smile onto my anxious face. Telling me the world hasn’t changed in every dot and dash.

Whether that honeysuckle or this honeysuckle, they both remain beyond my reach. Threads I hold onto.

The challenge becomes this: how do I lay threads in the hearts of my boys even now, even in Covid-19 America, that they can pick up and smile with in thirty years? The smell of soil in a freshly turned garden? The comfort of one home cooked meal after another? The sight of parents working and playing in the same place? In our relative safety and privileged with our cocooned existence, how do I make sure the small things count?

I’m sure from the underside of the tapestry, it will seem as random as that honeysuckle, the thing that they remember as warm and safe and happy from this time. I couldn’t manufacture it if I tried. I can only spin threads of warmth and safety and happiness, of validity and value, faith and love and gratitude, for as long as I am able and hope they weave something incredible for a future we share.

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