Friday, 13 June 2008

Beautifully lost

I was walking in the shade of Elms. Probably not in a straight line. An elderly woman came up to me, seemingly from nowhere. "Are you one of the gardeners here?" she asked shyly, yet at the same time looking me up and down intently as she raised her dark flip up shades. It seemed like an eternity until I replied. My head was reeling with too many thoughts and possible responses and a lingering trace, still, of soporific heavy perfume.

But I knew exactly why she had asked me. I was standing there in my best, yet slightly tatty allotment clothes. All in navy by chance today, looking a bit like a uniform, with one spectacularly grubby knee from yesterday's weeding, and a stain on my shirt that I have long given up on trying to remove, especially as it now reminds me of the outline of Newfoundland - upside down of course from where I see it when I am wearing it. 

I had just meandered through the wonderful Rose Garden and had ignored the overwhelming desire to just lie down and blissfully sink into perfumed slumber. Instead, I had strolled on the grass as close to the bushes as I could and followed the scent trails to seek out the most perfumed varieties. I wanted to crush my nose into the soft cups of petals, push the fraying heads in my mouth, then go back for more and more. Always, it seems, the wilder looking ones, or the less perfect shapes, the less showy ones appeal to more senses at one time. I felt drunk on the rich fragrances as they mixed high in my head somewhere and I know I circled all the bushes in slow motion, but I'm not sure how many times. I was transported and beautifully lost. As I walked away, I felt a flowing ribbon unfurling behind me, like a wisp of river, but one you couldn't see.

When my words formed, I told her, hearing a strange regret in my voice - "Sadly, I'm not." So, why was I surprised when she added - "See, I'm looking for the Rose Garden."