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I sit in one of the fields at the place where I live at. There is the main field that sits on the bottom half of the eight and a half acres. The owner that I rent a room from owns this acreage that he inherited from his mother. The main field face southeast. Long before I arrived here, it belonged to the their horses that once grazed it. It leads into the southwestern end of the lot. Imagine a sideways L that is facing downward. As if it is laying on it’s stomach. I am sitting on the corner of that L on top of a five gallon white paint bucket. A couple of rows of pine trees, planted long ago,  line the right side of my vision nearest me to where the driveway intersects the whole property. On the fence-line of the lot is another line of pine trees planted in rows of three. The Ponderosa Pine trees line three out of four of the fence lines on this property. In the middle of the property are the two houses. One serves as a workshop from the contractor I rent my room from. The other building is the main house just across the driveway. Surrounding both buildings, on the driveway all down the south side of it, and to the east of the end of the driveway are more pine trees of many varieties. I have been told by the owner that the agriculture field extension office supplied most of the trees for free. There has to be up to five hundred trees planted in total on this land. The trees make this place a retreat within itself.

 

The owner does not believe in invasive farming techniques. He will not mow these fields until all the wildflowers are long gone. He will wait till the grass is brown and the flowers dead before bringing out his tractor and field mowing the acreage clean. It is a drought year so it will not be long until this happens. Until then though, I sit on top of this paint can marveling at all the beauty. The native grasses are all green and growing up quickly. So many varieties of them I do not know any names for. The wildflowers bloom is at its height right now. The Balsam Root has been out now for about a month with its large yellow heads. Purple larkspur , pink phlox, and so many others I do not have names for. The fairy like purple lilies are now gone, but they were a treat to behold has well. It will not be long now before the lupine will grace this land with its violet blue heads. It is really stunning to me to be able to enjoy such untouched simple beauty. The grasses and flowers are now calf deep as I take my daily walk around the perimeter of this property almost every day. As an artist I just marvel every time at what comes up new here to behold.

 

The sky is just as beautiful as well. So very similar to the Big Sky country I remember from living years ago in Montana. Now I live in eastern Washington on the edge of the Columbia Plateau on the Palouse. This particular evening in mid May, the remnants of yesterdays rainy day are deciding who and who does not get sunlight on their land. The clouds decide to change the plan every fifteen minutes it seems like. The evening sun is setting behind, through, and occasionally peeks out of these wandering clouds. The hundreds of pine trees on this farm echo the movements of the clouds. They hum constantly from the every present breeze. When the sound does come out while hearing the song of the woods, it dazzles the heads of the tall grasses. They light up as do the wildflowers as if they are on fire. It is at that moment the flying insects are revealed. They now become like the fireflies I remember seeing last summer back in Minnesota. But a new set of clouds are suddenly coming towards me, and the light of the flowers, heads of the grasses and flying things are extinguished. 

 

The seagulls screeching overhead seem to know something I need to pay attention to. Just wish I knew their language. A lone meadowlark too says something over and over. Occasionally I hear the crickets chirp in the field as their slow pace. I do not hear the Robins singing their nightly reverie though. I wonder if that is due to the every growing dark grey cloud looming my way with colder temperatures with it. No matter what, the scene to me is breathtaking to behold. And I do hold my breath. I have gotten very good at holding in my own song unlike the birds I hear constantly. Unlike the turkey that just gobbled that I heard, unafraid to say what it needs to say, I have learned to not say much at all anymore. Though occasionally I may actually have the same casual conversations with the roommate, it is not often, if at all that anyone really hears what I desire to say. The days of having a real conversation with someone I love is long gone. Having just moved here barely a month before the pandemic took over my life, I really know no one locally to talk to physically. I do text my friends to the point they must be really tired of me. It is a grateful alternative, but not quite the same as face to face conversations.

 

I remember there was a time less than four years ago that I could have the heart filled talks with my late husband. He loved hearing me talk to and with him about so many things that both interested us. Like art, architecture , movies, science break throughs, politics and so much more including the normal family stuff that all couples talk about. I so do miss that right now as I spend most of my time in self quarantine during the Covid 19 pandemic. More than anything I miss having him here to witness the changes in nature we so both enjoyed. Instead, I continue to sit on my paint can and let silent tears roll down my cheeks. The cold and darkness continues to grow. It is time to go inside to my safe room from the rain that is about to flow. Finally, just as I reach my room, the Robins and the Turtle Doves begin their evening goodbye songs.


It is about 8:30 p.m. The sun has finally set. The clouds from this afternoon’s rain are still floating by in deep pillows stained with grey and blues. I keep my doo ajar so I can hear the last of the Robin’s songs while the Canadian Geese honk their approval of the tune the Robin’s are playing for this audience. In only minutes from now, the last sun rays from today will be gone forever. May 14th, 2020 is about to disappear for good. As I marvel at the thought of how rare this one day of spinning in the Milky Way galaxy is , I suddenly remember that I have a sprig of Lily of the Valley flower still in my jacket pocket from my evening walk. I go grab it from its hidden place and bring it next to me on my bed stand. The smell of its sweet fragrance was once a perfume that both my mother and I work back in the mid- 1970’s. “Muguet De Bois” it was  called. That smell now once again graces my old nostrils with nostalgia even though the perfume is no longer in production. I miss that perfume as does my mother. Before I left to move here to eastern Washington, I found a a huge bar of soap with the Lily of the Valley scent. I gave it to my mother as a going away gift. She was so happy to receive it and once again smell the sweet little white bells of earlier days. 

 

Another fragrance I use to wear was “April Violets” by Yardley. This perfume is no longer in production to my knowledge as well. It holds a special place in my life though. My Jene-Paul remembered me wearing the perfume when I first met him in our high school art class. We re-united after a thirty- eight year separation that often happens to young love. One day he found a similar perfume on eBay. I had to just buy it. That bottle lasted from 2011 to just February 2020. It was a large bottle of perfume. I wore it faithfully for him until our ‘second anniversary.’ The second one he should have been here for. Instead he only made it to our first real anniversary, which was February 29th, 2016. Six months later a drunk driver would take away his life as well as the one I had with him. We had chosen that date to symbolize all the years apart and the magic of coming back together on a day that only materialize every four years. On our invisible day, now made visible for this one year, I used the last of the perfume. It seemed like the right thing to do. I have kept the bottle only as a keepsake. 

 

It was not though, the only bottle of Violet perfume that I had a special place in my history. Long ago, when I was still married to my first husband, we had five children together. While they were small, the Yardley version of the perfume was still in production. But as my children grew up, it was harder and harder to find the fragrance. Especially in the middle of western Montana where we were living. There was no online shopping during the 1980’s or 1990’s. So when my second son found a small bottle of the violet perfume for Mother’s Day, it was a most treasured gift to me. He had to be only about ten years old at the time. How he found it I cannot remember. All I know is that I used that perfume for only special occasions all through the decades until last year. Last year, I wore it for the last time at my oldest son’s Memorial in Minneapolis. There was barely anything left in it, but there was a tiny amount still good to be used. I stayed three months in the Twin Cities before having to move back to Southern California to deal with my mother’s newly diagnosed dementia. Before leaving, I gave that tiny, but oh so precious vial of perfume to my daughter in law, who was married to the son that gave that perfume to me almost forty years prior. I asked her to hold onto it for my eight year old daughter. For the day of her first date or some special occasion that she could wear it. It seemed like the right thing to do then. 

 

Violets and Lily of the Valley are not the only fragrances that I loved though. They are the scents that my three husbands and all six of my children remember me wearing. Tonight, as I walked around the property, I discovered, on top of those amazing fragrances that come once the sun comes out after an afternoon rainstorm, my third most favorite fragrance. I found a very small Lilac bush with just a few flowers on it. I dared not to pick the flowers off of this bush though. I was just content to bend down and smell that sweet smell that I do remember. I have seen many varieties of the bush as I drove through Spokane last week. All I wanted to do was go pick their flowers. I miss dearly the days when I lived in places where I could cut every other day big bouquets of lilacs to grace my living spaces. My children knew that I was happiest with their purple, pink, or white blossoms sending sweet smells throughout our home. 

 

My first lilac was actually from my paternal grandmother. We called her, ‘Nana.’ nana came originally from somewhere near Toronto Canada. Since my father was born in 1928, I am guessing she was born near the turn of the 20th century. When she picked that first sprig of lilacs for me, it was off her one and only bush of its kind in the yard and probably the whole area. Lilacs were not a staple plant to grow in Southern California where we lived in my youth. But her lilac plant was something she had brought all the way from Canada when she married my grandfather. I never did learn how she met him, since he was born and raised in the area. Nana did complain to me that it was hard to grow flowers off this plant since it needed the northern cold weather to make the flowers bloom. She felt that the only thing that helped them to bloom was the cold coastal fog. They only lived a couple of miles as the crows fly from the ocean. It was there that I fell in love with the lilac flower at a young age under 10 years old. It would be yet another ten plus more years as a young mother would I be able to find lilac bushes to cut flowers for my home and children. May was the month of Mother’s Day, of my oldest daughter, my second son, and my own birthdays. Lilacs were always in my home to celebrate our springtime special days. 

 

The flowers were the crowning glory of our lives as well as the bounty of Springtime. I think back on all of these many memories as I leaned down to smell that little lilac bush. I love all the springtime rains with their occasional thunderstorms. The smells that grace the upper 45th parallel in the Pacific Northwest from the vegetation, especially after the rains is pure magic. A magic that I can claim as my own now. I also believe that somehow, the collective DNA history of my ancestors in my own self contributes deeply to the peace I experience living here. The smells, the vegetation, the landscape is a calming influence in my life right now. After doing a DNA test this year, I learned that my genetic past is from lands overseas in the Northern European roots of England, Germany especially. Lands that looks very similar to the landscapes I have known in Montana, Washington and Oregon. Never in my childhood did I ever feel comfortable living in the desert of Los Angelas. When I first took a trip in 1977 with my first husband to Oregon, only then did I feel my body relax for the first time. In 1984 we moved to Montana. For the second time in my life, my soul, spirit, whatever it is was finally at rest. I was home finally. Everything fit because this was where my family DNA came from. Though at the time I knew nothing about DNA memory past down from generation to generation. All I knew was that I had family history back over a hundred years in the area. They say that smell is one of the strongest bonds to memory. If that is the case, then my genetic family is finally at peace. For they are all home. Watching through my eyes, and the eyes of our children and grandchildren. Smelling the smells they too once loved to smell. 

 


Both of us are short on time to spend reading lengthy blogs. Will keep this very short and sweet. 

 

  • Email me if you are interested in purchasing my artwork. Or if you would like me to display my work in your place of business for a short or long time.
  • I do accept PayPal. I did not set up a quick pay though for security reasons. This is why you need to email me at : leslie.wallofgrace@gmail.com . I would rather us do the purchase as a one time event between the two of us.
  • I do not send any artwork framed. Especially with glass. Too risky of being broken. Plus it cost both of us way too much extra weight for shipping. When I ship my work to you, it will be wrapped in either shrink wrap or plastic wrap. Then it will be place between foam core boards to prevent bending. The last piece I shipped arrived well without damage this way. It will be in a very large envelope as well.
  • I also do not ship anywork framed for your taste aesthetics. You may not agree with the type of frame I would pick for my artwork. I would rather you have the pleasure of working with a framer. Pick out what would work out best for your own tastes and interior decorating needs. A experienced framer can do much more for you and your purchase of my artwork. Hope you agree.

That's all I got folks. Hope everything is clear enough. If not, please email me with your questions. I will answer within a day most likely.

 

Leslie Lemieiux