It is warm and humid today in Nashville, and the heavy air is saturated with the scent of Privet and Hall's Honeysuckle. Those who do not believe two plants can perfume a city have not been here in late April and early May. Both plants escaped long ago from gardens, and both have colonized hedgerows and forgotten fields and overgrown lots and city parks. Privet is a shrub. Birds love its berries, and since birds go everywhere, so grows privet. The honeysuckle climbs, then drops, and its vines root at nodes along the ground. Shrubs it smothers wear a scented tea and cream colored mantilla on May Day and Cinco de Mayo.
Privet smells like a sweet dusting powder, and honeysuckle smells like Eden. When I smell how debased the scent of jasmine has become, that it reminds us not of secret gardens, but of toilets in Interstate Highway public bathrooms, I am glad that honeysuckle reminds us how precious it is to be alive to smell another spring-
Here are some photos from today's walk at Percy Warner Park. The first is of a privet bloom. The second is of a barred owl more interested in mice than he was in us-