The above photo was taken a few days ago when I absolutely had to venture out to recover a close relative from a small, but usually bustling, airport. It was an experience that bordered on the surreal; we had to drive four hours (one way) to recover her because no other airports closer by had any flights coming in!
It was dead, dead, dead. On the trip there we were able to drive through a fairly large city at “rush hour,” construction zones included, with no delay whatsoever. It seemed at many times that our passenger car was the only one on Route 70, one of the US’s major east-west highways. All I could do was shake my head. There were plenty of semis (lorries), but vehicles such as mine were few and far between.
I see a lot on the news (when I bother to look) about protests, etc., but the majority of the people I know and live around are taking the lockdown seriously. Also, Route 70 and the airport really told the tale. It’s hard to describe how empty it all was; we waited at the airport for a while and we had <zero> trouble getting a prime parking spot. When my relative got off the plane, we asked her how many people she had shared the flight with.
The answer was five.
Five. How in the world can the airlines stay afloat like this? The travel agencies (like the one that refuses to pay me back for my very poorly timed Australia trip)? Anyone, really, but the grocery stores?
This new and unpleasant world borders on the creepy. And I know it is potentially fatal and economically ruinous.
So I choose to avoid the news and do stuff that’s physically active and fun. Here’s a photo of a personal favorite of mine. Lilacs.
This is a surprisingly good photo from my cheap Samsung, it shows the first buds on the old lilac bush in the yard.
How old is the bush? I don’t know. Let me tell you about me and lilacs.
First, the bush in our yard actually came from my Great-Grandparent’s farm, the Magyars. My mom took it when they died and planted it in our yard. The bush keeps getting bigger, it has nearly died via loose goats on several occasions.
I love my lilac bush. Every year its fragrance tells of the coming spring, of new life bursting forth from the seemingly dead late winter earth. Its smell is one of my indelible touchstones of home, the lilacs of far Ohio when I was marooned overseas. Tour after tour the lilac stood, it welcomed me when I retired, it witnessed the birth of our children.
And who knows what else. As I said, it came from the Magyar’s old place. I barely knew those people, but I remember them as kind. People of the earth.
Strangely enough, both of them, Imogene and Joszef, lived through the Spanish Flu of 1918. So if they were still around, this would be old hat.
The thought comforts me, oddly enough, and I feel connected to them through that old lilac.
The one the goats tried to kill, but they failed.
So in this year of the plague, at least I can still walk outside and smell the bloom of the lilacs.
The smell of home.