Friday, June 1, 2007

Queen Anne's Lace

Summer in Michigan was always abloom with Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot). It would literally grow anywhere, and lots of people considered it a weed.

As I would wander our property, I would occasionally try to pull out one of the stems from the rich Michigan soil. It was always difficult, as the root of Queen Anne's Lace is very, very strong. If I could wrangle one out, you could see the white, carrot-shaped root.

While not like a typical blossom, Queen Anne's Lace is more like a hemisphere of small, white, clustered blossoms; their fragrance was one that simply defined the scent of summer. Sweet, but not too sweet. I had actually forgotten that Queen Anne's Lace was this fragrance until five years ago on a trip back to Michigan. My wife, daughter and I went to the Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, and one of the many beautiful walking paths, the scent struck me. I was literally stopped in my tracks. The mixture of the flower and the sweet, dewy grasses sent floods of boyhood memories washing over me.

I don't see too much Queen Anne's Lace these days. It does grow in the mountains of southern New Mexico, a few hours from where I live today. On a trip to Alto, where my parents have a cabin, I sometimes catch a note of it in the air. And I'm right back in Michigan.

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