The orange tree is so full of blossoms.
Creamy white, fragrant and promising.
I sit sadly under it and breathe in its scent which I believe must trigger something deep and familiar in all Southerners.
I instantly remember open windows in the evening, after the rain, when the scent would curl secretly into my bedroom.
Driving miles of back roads home from college, windows cranked down, speeding through groves. The warm humid nights seem to always release the odor - until it become thick and palpable - like you could scoop it right front the air with your hands. It gets caught in your hair, behind your ears and sometimes in your tears.
This tree, I planted 10 years ago when my children were young, in my belly or not even dreamt of. She is blooming her last song. Both of our reproductive years have come to an end. Mine from choice, hers from disease. She has greening and will be cut down and burned after this last show, this last gift of hers.
The current devastation of greening on the Florida citrus industry can not be under estimated. It is the slow death of an industry some say. Already, many groves have been bulldozed, burned and replaced with blueberries fields, peach orchards or track housing. Those that remain are being soaked in chemicals once a week to slow down their inevitable death.
The smell of orange blossoms, the taste of fresh organic juice may be a thing only remembered by people of a certain age.
The little death to our family is monumental too. It is under her leaves that my son, at 5, first found all the stages of the lady bug life cycles. We always check under the leaves now.
Her roots hold the body of our beloved Boston Terrier who could jump as high as your shoulders and almost mastered a back flip.
My youngest son staked claim to the tree a few years ago and has spent time watering and weeding around it.
The death and euthanasia of this young tree marks the death of our family's first season together. One where we planted hoped and ideas - some of which are just bearing fruit now and some sadly that have been culled.
I am broken hearted when I walk outside and smell the blossoms that will never become juice on our table. But, in an effort to preserve her memory just a bit longer, we have been harvested and drying the blossoms to be used in teas and bath tubs. Hopefully, drawing out the heady scent long into the summer.