Monday, June 18, 2007

Impression of a Scent

It all started when I was a child living on a hill by the sea. The nights were warm, the sky was clear, and the scent was gently wafting through the air from a couple of michelia trees standing quietly in a dark corner of the front yard.

Years later I was riding a bicycle in a big city late at night, feeling all the weight of a hard life on my young shoulders, when the scent suddenly struck all my senses. In a flash I was a child again, sitting on a bench on a hilltop, watching the stars above and the lights from fishing boats in the sea below. Silently I thanked a michelia tree which rose behind a wall, visible under the streetlight.

More years later and an ocean away, I was driving along a country lane in a Southern state when the scent hit me again. I stopped my car to a screech, avidly looking for an old friend in a strange land. There was no michelia tree this time, just a lot of blooming honeysuckle vines growing on the roadside. Still the scent was unmistakably the same, and I slowly filled my lungs with an ami retrouvé.

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