Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Wall of Flowers and a Bicycle to Welcome the Heat

A wall of flowers plus bicycle

We dwelt in the tippy-top upper 90s for a while on Wednesday, and there's a chance it will hit 100 on Friday. I'm currently reading The Telling Distance: Conversations with the American Desert by Bruce Berger, and I happened to come across an appropriate and agreeable quote: "Heat--unlike cold--is one of those pleasures most keenly relished on the threshold of pain. It is oddly comforting to feel noon pouring down, to bake from beneath over bedrock, to find your marrow vaguely radiating." (p.46) We're not there yet, but we can see there just around the corner. The air is also exceedingly dry--the forecast is for 4% at 95F at drive time on Thursday. That's entering the zone that starts to feel like summer around here. But all of it, the sun pouring down, the wall of flowers, the dry air, the pavement baking from beneath, it does comfort me. And, it signals the ending of the pollen season, which is also most welcome. Except in that the pollen comes from beauties like these. Right after I snapped this picture, I walked back over to my bike, and took a deep inhale up close of these blossoms. I actually stuck my sniffer right in among them, giving due respect to the formidable toxicity, of course. Their scent singularly is not strong, not showy, not overbearing, but in concert, gathered in their hundreds or thousands like this, their combined subtle fragrance is overwhelming. And as the temperature heats up, well those fragrance molecules become more energetic, until sometimes I think the air almost burns with flower fire. Oleanders pouring down at noon, fragrance on the sweet threshold of pain in the heat. Get up. Go ride.



  1. quite poetic. i remember the smell of the oleanders all too well. go ride, indeed.

  2. Coe, thanks, the memory of oleanders is also an interesting subject, which is indistinguishable from the subject of this post I suppose, since we are instantly remembering what we believe we just perceived, scent being one of the more elusive and probably illusory of these perception memories. I understand that some people can't actually summon to mind the memory of any scent at all. I can though. Grapes, roses, creosote after rain, these I can call up deftly. Oleanders in the heat, though, they elude me still.


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