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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Magic on Juliana Street

I've always had a fondness for Juliana Street and the downtown historic district, and not just because my husband used the street name as the title of one of my favorite of his songs. (And yes, he threw in an extra "n.") Rambling Victorian houses set in rose gardens generally set me to dreaming, even though I have made peace with the fact that I will almost certainly never live in such a place, the thought of dusting all that woodwork holding no appeal, and there being such a shortage of reliable servants these days. (For some reason, the four cats are no help with the housework.) But today, Juliana Street outdid itself.

My long-suffering spouse and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary and opted to walk the district to walk off our excellent lunch. Wandering past a lovely front-yard garden, I was stopped by a scent, which I at first credited to something blooming in the yard but eventually identified as linden, a tree I fell in love with in Bulgaria and which has an American cousin. (If you have never smelled linden, imagine honeysuckle crossed with lily of the valley with undertones of citrus--yes, such a scent exists for a few glorious weeks every year.)

All the lindens I had ever seen were street trees, none more than twenty feet tall, but there were no lindens visible anywhere despite the scent that followed us for most of the block. Abandoning the mystery, we continued our walk, but when we finished our loop, I looked up, and there it was:

the biggest linden I have ever seen, towering over the Methodist church. This tree is a comparative youngster, though, as American linden can live for several hundred years and reach 100 feet in height. This one only reaches a little more than the height of a three-story church bell tower.
We hadn't seen the tree because it was too tall. We were looking for blossoms at eye level, which these definitely were not, even though the scent was everywhere.

Thoreau wrote that "Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads," and while I generally agree with Henry David, sometimes heaven, or at least magic, is over our heads--and we have to remember to look.


David said...

I just planted my first linden this year...one I bought at a native plant nursery. However, I'm also trying to root some cuttings from the local linden trees. Your post has me really looking forward to the scent once it is old enough to bloom.

Happy anniversary. :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks, David. I've not seen linden at either of the two nurseries in our area, so I'll have to keep looking. We have room for maybe one more large tree, and I think it needs to be a linden.