I’ve always been in awe of hollyhocks. When we grew up in the house on Woodlawn Avenue in Oregon the towering plants reached up to the dining room windows and were sentinels watching us celebrate birthdays around the dining room table before school started up again.
I grow hollyhocks now in Canada far away from Woodlawn Avenue where the mailbox was held up by a wooden life-sized red, white and blue Uncle Sam. No kidding. Life sized. Now my hollyhocks grow against my house where it is a bit warmer and they feel more protected than if out in the yard where the bears and deer wander.
Shorter days, warm fall sun and the sound of school busses rumbling by transport me back to days of bus rides home from school with the windows slid open from the top to the halfway mark as far as they went. The smells of fall. Going by the tomato farm, smelling the sweet red scent of ripened tomatoes waiting to be picked. The occasional skunk that tangled with a car and lost was noticeable long before and long after we came upon it by the side of the road. Always lucky if it wasn’t near your bus stop because it lingered through several rains.
September is the excitement of wrestling new band instruments on the bus with my plaid designed flute case kind of matching the plaid of my new kilt that was the “must have” of the new school clothes year. Always stepping off the bus in a bit of a hurry like there was somewhere important to hurry to only to stand still and wave at friends as the bus lumbered on.
My hollyhocks are a time machine taking me back to other warm gentle September days.