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Oh sweet spring. Walking through the neighborhood, the scent of flowers fills the air. Jasmine! I lean down to inhale. And then the lilacs. They are pink, light purple, dark purple and the most wondrous: purple with white edges on each tiny flower. When I bury my face in them, the scent carries me to a memory lost in the folds of time. I am five or six. My dad has taken me to work with him on the railroad and I am sitting on the lap of the engineer in the massive engine at the front of the train. I remember his dark coveralls, dials and levers, and the oily smell of the car. The engineer reaches into his pocket to pull out a tiny bottle of perfume. Lilac! Had he known I was coming? I inhale the lilac scent. It fills the world of coal and oil with incomprehensible beauty. And it still does.

Springtime is a time of begging flowers from neighbors so I can photograph them. I always return the favor with a print, though it’s almost impossible to repay the pleasure.

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