Saturday, June 14, 2008

Phone Booths on the Interstate

Another trip down I-85 from the Triangle in NC to Alpharetta in GA. This time my attention was drawn to phone booths in the rest areas. Most phone booths, due to cell phone ubiquity, are just empty shells, with the phone equipment removed. The Alamance rest area had a surprise for me, as this huge Polyphemus moth* was resting in the phone booth next to where I parked my car. I shooed him (and he's definitely a male - look at those magnificent antennae for smelling his prospective mate's pheromones up to several miles away) out of the booth, because a large spider web was immediately above him in the space, and I feared he would fly into it before exiting. He flew straight up and I watched until the prevailing Westerlies carried him away. He was as large as a small bird in flight, almost as big as my outstretched hand.

Then in Cabarrus I saw that the China Rain trees were blooming around the phone booth, as two weeks before I predicted to myself (aloud - I talk to myself a lot when I travel alone - I expect this to get worse as I age) when I passed through on a similar trip. I recall the first time I encountered the phrase and scent called China Rain - it was in a wonderful little shop in the Market in Charleston - Good Scents.** I have bought a number of her glycerin soap bars in that scent - I love it. But it was years before I discovered it was a tree, when I saw a long run of them in full bloom in the median of the 15-501 bypass, south of Chapel Hill, NC. Today in Cabarrus I took in a long breath under their boughs, and the Good Scents soaps are dead on.

* The Polyphemus moth is one of North America's largest insects. The caterpillar for this species (or one of the cousins in the Saturniid family) was the model for Heimlich, the German accented character from Pixar's A Bug's Life.

** Good Scents does mail-order, and their glycerin soaps are the best I've ever used. Though they are not mentioned on the website, the owner sells a lot more than is mentioned on the site, and I've ordered the soaps before, as well as picking up a year's supply while in Charleston. She custom makes products, too, with the essential oil of your choice (scores of scents to choose from, listed on her site - the quality is exceptional).

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