"Meet me in the middle of the day,
let me hear you say- Everything's OK
Bring me Southern kisses from your room
Meet me in the middle of the night,
Let me hear you say, Everything's alright
Let me smell the moon in your perfume."

Romeo's Tune-Steve Forbert-1979

Humidity made the air heavy and slow. We sat on the floor by the bed, considering the next move. It was too hot to sleep and the heat had melted all of the ice cream we could not eat (it wasn't much). Although the apartment had air conditioning, it was not working on this evening and the open windows allowed no breeze serious enough to do any damage.

I put on the stereo and wondered if the heat would burn out its transistors. "Wanna dance?"

I was teasing of course, but she was the type of woman who would take you up on things, so she pulled herself to her feet and placed damp forearms on my shoulders-

Hey, soldier-come here often?

Her hair was limp and pulled to one side of her face the smell of honeysuckle was thick on her neck-it was her attempt to ward off the hours of sweat. We rocked from side to side as she fell halfasleep against my shoulder. It was 2 am. We were both tired, but the heat made the bed, any bed, uninviting.

Maybe, the bathtub...

She didn't look up, but grinned to herself as she thought about it...
I walked away from her, nudging her in the other direction, down the hall.

"Go ahead, I'll bring the icecubes."

honeysuckles grew on huge bushes near my old home. We used to pick the blossoms and pull out the septum thingie in the center. It comes out cleanly and has a hard ball at the end, making it like pulling the glass dropper out of a perfume bottle.
Only, this blossoms innards don't contain perfume. They contain honey. Well obviously not actual honey, but some other delicious syrupy substance that looks and tastes like honey. We would suck the 'honey' off the bottom of the septum thing and then pick another. Few flowers are as appropriately named as this one.

Extract from The Wild Honeysuckle By Philip Freneau

Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet ...


Ah! The satisfaction of a hard day's labour in the garden, and then to sit down with a beer and admire the handiwork. With a sigh and a smile I can feel content (nostalgic...). A new beginning, neater, tidier, (emptier...), got to be cruel to be kind, especially in the garden (in love...), cut out the surplus, make room for new growth, to feel the sun and breathe the fresh air.

According to Dr Bach, he of the Flower Remedy fame, honeysuckle is ... 'for people who live in the past instead of the present ... perhaps a time of great happiness, or memories of a lost friend'.

Hacking and chopping the honeysuckle, back, back, back. All the new leafy green shoots gone, I doubt it will flower this side of mid summer now (perhaps this is a good thing ...). Slashing back three years of growth, would the weight (joy...) of three years of memories fly from my shoulders, would I be free (forget? ... never!) of the strings that pull at my heart? I'm not even sure that is even a remedy I would wish for.

And I'm thinking that Dr Bach must be a pretty canny chap to associate honeysuckle with nostalgia. No-one can surely forget, even in winter's darkest months, the heady aroma and not recall the warmth of the summer's night air and the shade of love and laughter and friendship all wrapped up in the same bundle?

More memories. Woodbine, the name for honeysuckle, and also the name of my grandfather's cigarettes (the ones that probably killed him). I recall feelings of warmth listening to his stories, absorbing the wealth of his knowledge of the garden and growing things. A quiet man, but he taught me to love the seasons. I am closer to his heart in the garden than anywhere else on earth, and that's without doubt.

Ah Spring! My glass is empty now and I reluctantly come back to the present. Looking again at the garden, seeing the new space where there was once a confused and twisted tangle, I look forward to the simple pleasures of renewed life.

Hon"ey*suc`kle (?), n. [Cf. AS. hunisge privet. See Honey, and Suck.] Bot.

One of several species of flowering plants, much admired for their beauty, and some for their fragrance.

The honeysuckles are properly species of the genus Lonicera; as, L. Caprifolium, and L. Japonica, the commonly cultivated fragrant kinds; L. Periclymenum, the fragrant woodbine of England; L. grata, the American woodbine, and L. sempervirens, the red-flowered trumpet honeysuckle. The European fly honeysuckle is L. Xylosteum; the American, L. ciliata. The American Pinxter flower (Azalea nudiflora) is often called honeysuckle, or false honeysuckle. The name Australian honeysuckle is applied to one or more trees of the genus Banksia. See French honeysuckle, under French.

 

© Webster 1913.

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