This time of year, when I can, I walk after supper. The early evenings are of full of sweet smells and bird song. It is a sensual experience, an extension of our meal.
Our neighborhood is an old one. Many of the late 19th century houses fringe an area of "newer" homes built after the 1920s when some of the larger mansions were torn down and the polo park, playground for the lumber barons, was dismantled.
Now the forsythia is out, soon it will be the flowering crab, next lilacs, and then, by June 6, the bridal wreath. (It seems fitting to recall those who have gone before or those who died on the Normandy beaches with these flowers.)
As I walk past the old houses, some of brick, some of clapboard, I think of how they have stood for so long, silent witnesses to so much history. Of course, not as long as the buildings of Europe. But long enough.
My house alone has withstood world wars, bad news, a Ku Klux Klan rally in the 1890s near a livery stable two blocks away, and, though much of the 20th century, traffic from a teacher's college across the street.
How many meals have been prepared in my kitchen? By how many cooks? The people who bought the house in the late 1940s were a retired farm couple, moving into town to be near their children. The husband died soon after their move, and I wonder about the loneliness of Hattie, his wife, a devoted gardener. She would have looked upon the same back yard scene as I do as she chopped and sliced and minced and mixed.
I imagine she slipped out to her garden to pick fresh vegetables, as we'll will be able to do once I get all my herbs in and my tomato plants yield fruit. Stepping out the door before preparing supper is just another one of the warm weather rituals I cherish.