A distinct shift. A change in the atmosphere. And grey, darkened skies linger, as rain and wind become the prominent feature of our days. This swansong of summer is predictably swimming in water because the UK tends to get a final flare of heat, followed by thunderstorms and a deluge of rain.
But we can still remember the golden days, the evocative scents, if we try. Let us think back or dig deep into our memories. I’m relying more on those childhood ones which always seem to stand out stronger than the others. Those endless, grace-laced summer days where anything felt possible and amusing ourselves was work enough to do.
“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” — Maud Hart Lovelace
In the garden, roses swell
like tea cups without handles,
frothy flowers eagerly spilling
over themselves, with some
drooping low to the ground.
I touch the tender petals,
marvel at their fragility,
while my stubby fingers
reach to pull them off—but only
the dying, little ones, of course.
Because I know my father
keeps a careful eye on
these, his pride and joy,
but my eyes are seeing
their potential for gathering.
Packing them tight into a jam jar,
heedless of the crush and mess,
ready to escort into our
house, to add some water.
A few drops. A shake. A finger
wet with shameful evidence
of rose gathering. A nose
wrinkling to try to catch the scent.
My homemade perfume
is faintly redolent
of summer hues, of grass
and leaves, with a slight
resemblance to a muddy brew.
Content and undeterred,
I dab, sniff, save, then rinse
this rose concoction once
again, and libate the waiting
ground with sudden rain.
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” — Henry James
I hope you have enjoyed my memoir poetry. What is the tail end of summer looking like for you? What special memories help to keep the scent, the lightness of it alive? I’d love you to share below. 🙂 ❤
14 thoughts on “summer: the scent of it lives on in our memories”
Good afternoon dear Joy, the imagery in your poetry is powerful. I can see the nubby fingers. I can smell the summer, with slight accent of rose. Summer is winding down here in PA, too. It is still hot, so flowers are either drying or boldly blooming. Yesterday on a walk, I leaned my nose over to inhale the flora. A butterfly swooped right under my nostrils and went on its merry way. No photo. I believe it was meant to awaken my senses. May God bless you sister with restorative rest of body, mind and soul. Love in Christ, Julie
Good afternoon, dear Julie. It was evocative for me, too. Some childhood memories get vividly etched in our imaginations, don’t they? It’s like we relive them through our senses. Oh how I smiled at your close brush with a butterfly. How delightful to see one at such close quarters! We don’t always need photographic evidence to feel like or believe we’ve experienced something. Especially during childhood, when our senses are heightened, not dulled by familiarity or routine, and we’re far more attuned to wonder and awe in the everyday. Thank you for your beautiful blessing. I am definitely in need of those things after an extra demanding and exhausting week. Love in Him. xo ❤️
Oh keeping you in prayer through this weekend, sister. Thank-full for His loving eye upon us.
Oh bless you, dear sister, I’m so grateful for your prayers! Yes, how thank-full I am, too, for Gods loving eye upon us. I’m keeping you in prayer as well as you seek the best way forward, apply yourself to your studies, and wait for the right words to write so you can bless, inspire and encourage others. Love and hugs! xo 💜🙏🏻
Thank you so much for those prayers. Need to change school and find work. Lots going on. Love from across the pond!
Lots to pray about, I see! Love from across the pond back to you, my friend! 💟
Thank you for this beautiful picture of summer from long ago! I could almost smell the roses with you as crushed the petals. I remember hot sunny days in our family’s vegetable garden at the end of summer. I can almost smell the fragrance of those end-of-summer days too. I was the one to pick fresh ears of corn for dinner, but I had to brave the giant garden spiders first! The sweet taste of that golden corn was worth it though! Thank the Lord for the strength of those memories that God plants in our minds–beauty that flowed around us from the world He created. May you be blessed with beauty that refreshes your soul. Much love and hugs! xoxo
Dear Bettie, I’m glad the poem helped transport you back to your own hot sunny days and precious memories. They grow ever more so as we grow older, don’t they? Oh well done you for braving those giant garden spiders! They might fascinate me with their glistening webs but they also freak me out. Home-grown food is particularly delicious for being untreated, not mass produced and picked super fresh. We used to have an allotment and it was lovely to grow, pick and eat our own vegetables from it. Yes, these memories do suggest the “beauty that flowed around us from the world.” They implant a hunger to see and be among woodland, forest, trees, flowers and plants. I receive your blessing, dear friend. I need to look out for that beauty again as summer comes to an end. Much love and hugs to you, too! xoxo 💜
Thank you for this sweet memory, Joy. I found myself imagining it with you. I’m so glad God brought this memory to your mind in the midst of the painful ones. I love Jenny Uglow’s quote. So true. Love and blessings of renewed strength in body and soul!
You’re welcome, Trudy! I’m so pleased it stirred your own imagination. When I look back to childhood, I often find that a dark cloud seems to conceal the lighter, brighter experiences. On the rare occasions when one does break through, I appreciate it all the more for giving me glimpses of joy and hope among the painful and hard. Our garden doesn’t grow roses because it’s too tiny to house much at all, therefore I cherish times of visiting our elder son and wife and their large garden, where I relish getting a bit of nature bathing thrown in for good measure! These images came from there. It’s one place where my soul can always freely relax and exhale. Do you have that experience, too? I’m grateful for your sweet blessing, dear friend, as those are grace gifts I could really use right now. Thank you! Love and hugs! xo 😊❤️
Wow! They have some beautiful roses! Nature bathing… Yes, we need that place in nature where we can relax and exhale. Thank you! Love and hugs to you, too!
Yes, they do! Although these were snapped at their best in June. We’re visiting them tomorrow and I expect it will look rather different then. I love the nature images you share. They lift me up and make me smile. I think creation’s beauty is magical in its cheering, soothing effect on us. xo 😉🌺🌸
Joy, what a delightful trip into childhood summers! I remember riding my bike a lot, playing in the backyard with my brothers and the neighborhood kids. Sometimes a friend and I would ride our bikes to the drug store a mile away and order cherry cokes. One year my dad joined the civic association so we could swim in the pool all summer. Such fun memories! The heat didn’t seem to bother us as much when we were kids – we had fun in spite of it. 🙂 Thank you, Joy for sharing your poetic memoir. Beautiful! Blessings, love and hugs to you! xoxo And Happy Birthday today!
Gayl, I love your childhood memories! What simple enjoyment we all had. I wasn’t at all bothered by the heat either as a child and younger adult. I think my thermostat went haywire with the onset of the menopause and hasn’t recovered yet from being out of kilter! 😉 I’m glad you like the poetic memoir. It’s a good way to write about our history, don’t you think? Blessings, love, hugs and gratitude for the kind birthday greeting as well! It’s been a lovely but exhausting day communicating with friends and family even though I didn’t manage to get out as planned. Fun, though, in its own quiet way… xo 😊❤️