THE LAVENDER PATH
You may 'remember an inn, Miranda'
I remember a Lavender Path.
Grandma lived only a short distance away.
We could walk there.
But the journey was an adventure.
Excitement was my companion.
'We're going to Grandma's!' I would chant
As I skipped along by my mother.
Our house was just a house;
Grandma's was a place of magic.
First, the gate.
But not just a gate!
A leafy archway
Which made our entry
We didn't 'go in.'
Then, the path!
Shiny and orange.
Terra cotta I'd call it now.
Then it was 'orange'.
And orderly, with its neat tiles.
And so very, very long!
(I experienced 'The Yellow Brick Road'
Long before 'Oz')
It led up to an elegant doorway!
And we passed between banks of lavender!
The purple spikes massed on either side,
Their perfume intoxicated me.
I still smell them.
There were other delights.
Filled with Cox's Orange Pippins.
You who have never smelt a 'Cox's'
Or bitten into its wrinkled skin,
There was an apple loft,
Where Grandpa stored
One climbed wooden steps to reach the loft,
And there was a platform at the top.
From there one could look over
The apple trees
And see the trains!
To stand there,
Watching one's thundering beasts go by!
There was also a shed.
It was tumble-down, even then.
It was musty with age.
And there were other ancient smells
Old newspapers in stacks,
Yes, definitely hessian.
I wonder why.
We were allowed to eat Cox's windfalls.
There was that gloriously appley smell too.
Plus the smell of the forbidden raspberries.
And, most magical of all,
There was a greenhouse
Grapes were foreign things.
These were small and sour.
But there they hung,
Gloriously plump exotica
In Grandpa's greenhouse!
After tea, we walked home again,
Past the lavender.
And I stole a few heads
To rub between my fingers as I walked.
Making the magic last.
My 'Christmas Trees are small' now
As the song says.
I have returned as an old lady.
I see an unremarkable suburban house,
Not very well planned.
I see a small garden
With one or two trees.
I hear the irritating sound
Of passing trains.
I see a narrow path
Which, if I take a few steps,
Leads me to an everyday door.
And the lavender has gone.