Ever since I’ve lived at the top of a tiny hill on a dead end street in a mile-square town in New Jersey (which is more than twenty years now), a particular aroma has wafted through my windows every June. Without fail, somewhere around the third or fourth week of the month, the beautiful aroma of a huge, blossoming linden tree pleasantly awakened me. Until now.
Yes, this is the first year that the aroma was absent, because early last fall the owners of that tree had it removed. Apparently, the roots of the ancient linden were wrecking havoc on their house foundation. And so, one sad, dark, rainy morning, I awakened to the sounds of saws and machinery, and much to my dismay by the end of the day the tree was gone.
I knew I would miss its shade when I trekked up the hill with a bag of groceries on a hot July morning. But even more, I knew I would miss that particular perfume, a smell that, for me, has heralded the beginning of summer for the past two decades.
I tend to mourn things that change, leave or--might as well just say it-- die. And even though I know that nothing ever stays the same, I cling to the belief that I should have my linden tree each June. I know that I can’t control the ages of my kids (or my own age, for that matter), but I’ve always felt that something as simple as a tree blooming in springtime would be mine forever.
Yes, I'm aware that nothing ever says the same. And yet, there are times when I feel that even if something can’t stay exactly the same, it can still be in some form or another (other than in memory). So this June when “my” linden tree should have been blooming, I took a walk around the neighborhood, and lo and behold I found another beautiful old linden tree. After a few visits, I finally arrived on an evening when its aroma filled the air, and I stood on the sidewalk doing a kind of improvised yogic pranayama (breathing technique) which I have now named “Breath of Linden,” and is a sort of breathe/sigh/gasp combination.
We must accept that things change, this I know. But occasionally, I believe we can “tweak” this message, and discover new ways to make the person, thing, experience, (or in this case, mammoth, blossoming linden tree) still part of our lives. The wafting, sweet aroma of the linden tree will never again come to me in the home that I live in now. But for as long as I can walk, drive, hobble or crawl, I can go to it.