I’m home. Back in Los Angeles where I belong and happy to be back amongst friends and familia. I got here just in time too. Summer, which to me means jacaranda blossoms and the scent of fresh peaches.
I had hoped to make it home while the jacarandas were still in full bloom. I love those velvety, lavender flowers with the heady scent so much. The air in L.A. Is redolent with them this time of year and the sweetness carries on the breeze. In some areas, the streets are completely carpeted with fallen blossoms and each step from a pedestrian crushes them and increases the aroma.
My grandmother Lupe once told me that jacaranda flowers were good for headaches and so each year, faithfully I gather the blossoms, dry them and sew them into a little pillow by hand. I’m not sure if sleeping on the dried, crushed flowers makes my headaches any less painful but it sure does smell good.
Summer is also the smell of peaches and memories of making peach pies with my Tia Luz who, even in her 90s would climb her own trees to gather the peaches for her famous pie. She’s gone now too and I miss her but the scent of peaches always brings back the memory of her smile.
There is something so summery about the smell of peaches. I walked into a market just yesterday and was assaulted by the delectable scent. It tickles my nose, makes my mouth water and beckons with promises of rich juice dribbling down my chin, sticky fingers as I slice them for pie and tantalizes me with lust for warm, flaky crust. Yeah, I’m so making pie next week.
The first peaches of the season though are to be eaten fresh and cold. My grandmother would wash them carefully, making sure all the fuzz was gone before patting them dry and putting them in the fridge to chill. There was nothing better than those icy cold peaches, big and juicy. The smell of them was intoxicating and still is; the taste, even better. When I bite into a ripe peach now I am transported and am back in that little kitchen on Goodwin Avenue watching my grandmother and great-aunt make pies or out on the patio with my grandparents watching my grandmother slice pieces of ripe peach and hand them to me to eat.
Peaches were just the beginning and their heavy scent whispered to me about other fruits of summer: cherries, plums, apricots – they all beckon but the peaches say summer most of all.