Contributor Nancy Scott – Hyacinths

I was recently out running errands and doing some grocery-shopping. Suddenly that scent rushed to my nose and to my memory.

I suppose there are people who don’t like the scent of hyacinths, and of course there are people who can’t be around flowers. For me, hyacinths are the best part of Easter, followed closely by peanut-butter and coconut eggs. Their fragrance powerfully speaks of romance, fiction, and resurrection of nature.

Hyacinths demand notice even above the scent of baking cinnamon or ham in the oven. They remind me of gifts and time. They will not scent the air for long.

I now know that hyacinths like light. But even after being given and purchasing many pots of pink and purple, I still never know how much water they need. I suspect I give them too much, though I always beg for their understanding as I try to supply sustenance.

Usually at first, the flowers are just beginning to open and stretch, and that unmistakable scent whispers and wafts and waves. I bury my nose in those tiny perfect petals often. Is it fiction that I need to inhale?

Then petals begin to drop and stems lean. A hint of soil arrives. But I prop them up as a bribe for a few more days of annual atmosphere. One year I used a plastic straw to prop up a single bloom whose leaning kept tipping its pot. Don’t laugh–it worked. Eventually I’ll plant the bulbs in the earth so they can return next year.

Fragility and strength. Passion and poignancy. Change of season and long tradition. Why is hyacinth-scent rarely bottled?

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