Sunday, October 10, 2004


On the last leg of my warm dawn walk this morning, just as the sun came out from behind the last of the low typhoon clouds I was walking past the big plot of land used by a garden shop owner in the big city as a nursery for various big shrubs and bushes and trees much desired by gardeners, when once again the paradisiacal scent of kinmokusei (sweet olive tree; Oleaceae fragrans var. aurantiacus) caught me by surprise, telling me what time of year it really was, wafting one of the deep meanings of time from that carefully selected and nurtured forest.

As I walked in the growing warmth, the scent increased to such intensity as the sunlight became the plants that soon I was surfing down the mountain road on a creamy wave of heavenly scent that carried me all the way to my house. Because kinmokusei has no big flashy flowers, only tiny, golden buddish blossoms peeping from the axils, I never see it coming, so every year at this time it catches me by the same surprise. Shyness always has a wondrous side.


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