Today I will tell you a story that began in 1993, but I am reminded of it every year on warm, humid days when the grapes are in bloom.
I was working for the summer on the DesPlains River in Illinois, doing testing on a series of constructed wetlands. Chips was a puppy, full of energy and curiosity. We were living on site, and after the gates closed at 6pm every day we had 300 acres all to ourselves. There was a trail through the project which we often walked in the evening.
One day was gray and rainy, but after the storm was over the air began to warm and as we took our evening walk I was surprised by a sharp, yet sweet odor that hung in the air. I hadn't ever smelled it before, and I began exploring to discover where the scent came from. Imagine my surprise when I found it to be the blooming wild grape vines!
I had considered myself a decent amateur botanist, yet I had never noticed the blooms of the grapes before! At once the words of a popular Christian song popped into my head:
There's just something about that name.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Like the fragrance after the rain...
And so, that wonderful, sweet but wild, spicy and unique scent of the grapes will forever remind me of the summer of 1993, and adds a poignant note of wonder to make that song more real.
Let all heaven and earth proclaim:
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there's something about that name.
Now I watch for the blossoms each year and purposefully sniff for an early summer "high." Oh, and in the fall I've taken to making wild grape juice and canning it for bursts of breakfast wild-ness throughout the winter.
See In Memory of Hoover Houdini Chips