April Showers in May

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

We had a day of April showers here in Kentucky today except it’s not April. Guess these are May rains. The raindrops are knocking all the petals off the locust tree blooms. The road was white under the trees when I drove home from church a while ago. But when I took a walk earlier this afternoon I could still smell the blossoms all the way across the field. They have the sweetest scent. For those of you who have read my first Hollyhill book, The Scent of Lilacs, you’ll know I used the locust bloom scent in it too. That was what David thought was the sweetest scent and what he smelled when he received the call to preach while he was down in the submarine during the war. If you haven’t read the book, you’re going to think that sounds a little crazy.

I waver between locust blooms and lilacs as to which scent I like best, but I know about locust trees. When I was growing up, our yard was full of them. In the olden days that’s what people planted around their houses – maybe because of their sweet smelling blooms and maybe because they grew fast. Now I doubt anybody would even consider planting a locust tree in their yard. And there were some definite disadvantages in locusts as yard trees for a girl like me who went barefoot all summer. Locust branches have thorns and these little twig branches fall off the tree and when you’re running through the yard, those thorns can stick into even the toughest feet. Another disadvantage is that a lot of people believe locust trees draw lightning. Now I don’t know if a tree can really “draw” lightning. I do know that the trees in that yard did suffer several lightning strikes. Another thing about locust trees is that the wood makes a nice warm fire in the winter. In the last few years some kind of bug has been working on the locust trees around here (all out in the field), so some of them are struggling. But they had a heavy bloom this spring that filled the air with their sweet fragrance.

But back to the rainy day. It was a good day for ducks. Now there’s a cliche for you, and cliches are a definite no-no for writers. But sometimes a familiar cliche can be sort of comforting. Everybody knows exactly what you mean because you’re talking a common language. My only problem is that I get the cliches mixed up sometimes and say the wrong thing like fast as a fox. No, that’s not it. It’s sly as a fox. Isn’t it? How about brown as a berry? Is that right? What berry is brown? Then there’s cute as a button. I’ll bet kids wonder about that one. Most buttons are pretty plain these days.

Of course there’s always stubborn as a mule. I haven’t gotten that one mixed up. I’ve heard that plenty in my day because I’ve had people accuse me of that sort of mulish behavior. But I read that mules aren’t really stubborn. They just need motivation. Same with writers and their stories. Sometimes the story can be stubborn, but maybe it’s because we, the writers, forgot to give our characters the proper motivation.

Hope you’re motivated to have a great month. Enjoy those showers and the flowers that will be sure to follow.