Russian Olive Memories

| 5/19/2009 11:33:02 AM

KC ComptonIf anyone had wandered by this morning as I was making my daily rounds with Crazy Puppy, they might have thought I was a couple of spoons short of a table-setting.

There I stood with my face buried in a branch, inhaling deep breaths of the Russian olive tree as though it were a scent created especially for me. And in some ways, it might as well be.

I’m always the first to notice that the Russian olives have blossomed. Some people smell new-mown grass on the air, or the yuck from the Frito-Lay plant just down the road from our office. I’m programmed to recognize the first whiff of Russian olive--and to try to coax my acquaintances into my particular enthusiasm.

Russian Olive in bloom

In an ongoing demonstration of the power of aromatherapy, Russian olive scent always boosts my spirits and makes me feel ready for anything. Although many people view this wispy, gray tree as nothing more than a very tall weed, for me it’s sensual ambrosia that takes me back to a specific time and place where I felt strong and free and ready.

For a couple of years when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I joined a group of other bicyclists early on Sunday mornings throughout as much of the year as the weather permitted, to make a roughly 30-mile loop out to a wonderful café (which I think might have been called the Lone Wolf, but can’t remember right now). We’d ride like hell out, have a cup of coffee and the best breakfast burritos in the world (green chile, please, and lots of it), then meander back into town about the time the rest of the world was waking up.

Patricia Alber
6/12/2009 10:36:55 AM

I remember that smell well from Santa Fe!. I rode my bike on the trail behind Sam's Club and past the high school to the end of the trail off Rodeo Rd (I think)and back again. I loved that smell! but alas, my allergies developed in Santa Fe and became so bad I had to leave--plus we wanted to be able to grow something! There is much I miss, but brown everything is not one of them! We are new to KY (having lived in PA, OH, and IN since leaving) and are putting in raised beds (lasagna style) and are having a time of it. The rain has washed seeds away. Lasagna is best for starting in the fall, but without a tiller to churn up the slimy heavy red clay we had no choice. Thankfully I have much canned from last year. Onward Ho!

Patricia Cowan
5/25/2009 3:28:26 PM

oh, yes...I know that fragrance. I have the same experience in the fall with a related huge shrub, elaeagnus. That mysterious hint of vanilla that floats by when riding my bicycle down the street on a glorious autumn afternoon! HEAVENLY...Patricia

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