In this dry almost-winter you can smell the African dust. It mingles with the smoke that always comes at this time of year, smoke sometimes so dense that early mornings take on the appearance of misty splendor.
I try to remember that image: refreshing mists rising and dewing everything. Because remembering that it is smoke, that the atmosphere has been turned into a thick, soupy mess, is more than I can bear.
The dry, dusty atmosphere takes away the smells that matter. Yes, you can smell dust. You can smell smoke, especially the acrid stench of plastic burning in some squatter camp. But you don’t smell flowers. You don’t smell green.
When it comes, one morning early, it catches me by surprise.
The scent of water.
Of dew on plants. Wet green. Life!
I stand, arrested. Surprised that this gift could show up in the dryness of late fall. Humbled that it could have found me, the one longing for it so much.
I breathe in the soft, sweet fragrance. It is enough to bring a little hope. And I lift my head to go into the day, refreshed, as if I, too, am a plant that has been rescued from wilting by just this … the scent of water.
For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
- Job 14:7-9