To those who have been reading my blog for awhile, I apologize.
I wrote a post very similar to this last year.
I tweaked it slightly and am using it for this next week's Chronicle column.
I stepped outside yesterday and caught a scent which pulled me through the space/time continuum to a tight and confining spot, even for a small child. The floor was layered with decades of fragrant, dried leaves beneath and a canopy of thin, and slightly velvety, gray-green foliage above.
When I was five years old, I found this place, which became my favorite hiding place. Unfortunately, I was the type of kid who felt the need to hide from my little brother, Jim, who was only two at the time and practically worshiped me. Equally unfortunate is how much I regret my hateful hiding habits of 45 years ago.
The slightly tangy aroma that wafted across the breezes yesterday afternoon was the scent of Russian Olive blossoms and the hiding place of all those years ago was underneath an enormous Russian Olive tree that sat on the border of ours and Harold Morris' property. The old tree had a huge circumference, but was so low to the ground, it required a crouch, a crawl and then an army-man scootch to position myself under it. Once past the lowest hanging boughs, I could sit Indian-style, but I preferred to roll onto my back and enjoy the light filtering through those leaves and breath in that distinctive fragrance of the flowers while I listened to the distant sound of little Jim calling, "Dorda", "Doooorda!" as he toddled around the yard.
Throughout the years of growing up in that house and playing in, around, and under that huge tree, I don't recall ever having allergies, but for the past 30 years, I can mark the exact day the Russian Olives bloom because my eyes water, my nose runs and the back of my throat itches to the point of wanting to scratch it with a sharp pencil. I bear it as bravely as possible, because I am positive this is punishment for hiding from my sweet, little brother. I wish he would call me now. I would scramble out of my place and run to him and hug him as hard as I can and then show him greatest hiding place on earth.