Every year I make a point to procure some of these cheerful little faces of early spring. Plain or marked with velvet smudges, the smell is what takes me down the flowered path to my childhood.
As a toddler, I played with scoop and pail in the sandy cold frames of my family’s nursery, where the earliest seedlings were overwintered or hardened off to face the world.
And according to family lore, it is where my great-grandfather took his last breath, an immigrant from a war-ravaged empire who began a twilight rebirth in the land of his conquerors.
I plant them by my front door so that I can catch that delicate fragrance and remember in passing of budding breezes and fresh starts.
They found him in the pansies, already on his way.