From time to time in this old blog about life where the livin’ is easy I allude to the sobering fact that amongst all of the frivolity of easy livin’ in “vacation land” resides the reality of life, as it involves jobs, tuition payments and the daily travails of raising boys into young men. The past 4 days have been everything BUT easy livin’ around here. When one of your children suffers an illness of any type, it adds a certain type of stress to your life, but when that illness involves ambulance rides and visits to Children’s hospitals the effect on a parent can best be described as a gut wrenching vice that wrings the optimism and encouragement right out of your heart. By the grace of God, it doesn’t appear that our son’s health issues involve anything extremely serious and we are hopeful that the initial reports are confirmed by ongoing tests, but I am reminded that these are times that try men’s souls.
To say that I was ready for a bit of a respite in the form of a walk around the golf course early this morning is an understatement. I was feeling adventurous so I even took my golf clubs with me. There are few places in this world that I enjoy in the early morning hours than a golf course, walking, by myself. The sights and sounds of the golf course are unique in the early hours of the day. The birds, water fowl, and squirrels are much more active in the mornings. It’s hard to explain to somebody who hasn’t spent a lot of time on a golf course but the rhythmic droning of a mowing machine in the distance blended along with the calls of the brightest colored little blue birds and the occasional squall from a sea gull provides a relaxing background conducive to getting lost within the moment. If all of this weren’t enough, the month of May in Charleston, South Carolina is a magical time of the year when the air is heavy laden with the unmistakable fragrance of confederate jasmine.
The smell of confederate jasmine is one which you will never forget, the treat that it supplies to your senses embodies the romance and ambience of the old South every bit as well as the sight of Spanish moss hanging from a live oak tree. This morning, on the golf course, the spell cast by the sweet smelling jasmine can best be described as intoxicating. I was so relaxed by the experience that I didn’t even mind the occasional errant drive off of the tee, or the splash of a golf ball in a lagoon or even the big beady eyes on that log sticking up out of the water, huh? What? Oh my, that’s not a log and it’s no longer sticking up out of the water, it just disappeared as I walked to within five foot of the reptile looking him right in the eyes as he lazily disappeared under water.
Jasmine is as much a part of the history of Charleston and the old South as uniforms of blue and grey, or stories of cannon balls and muskets dating back to colonial times. In fact, Civil War era author, Mary Boykin Chestnut most often remembered for her published diary of the Civil War where she described the war from her perspective within the upper-class circles of Southern planter society, describes the South Carolina countryside in the spring as being “laden with opopanaz, violets, jasmine, crab apple blossoms, roses. Araby the blest never was sweeter perfume.”
Quite honestly, confederate jasmine is everywhere in Charleston, not just on golf courses. I even have my very own confederate jasmine starting to spread along the fence in my back yard, all part of the plan for my back yard oasis inspired by the wonderful gardens of downtown Charleston. I wish that this blog provided me with the ability to send a sample fragrance to you, but if you have ever been blessed with the experience of smelling jasmine in the southern air during Spring, all you really have to do is close your eyes and remember.