Thursday, December 16, 2004


One summer afternoon not long ago I was driving home from the larger village up the road, taking the way I always go when driving home from there (the back road from the turnoff at the stonemasons, curving on around the low hill and under the railway toward the new riverside park), and was just about halfway along that familiar road when all at once the car was a temple - something sacred was going on - because all the air was suddenly a beautiful sacred incense that was streaming through the car and me, and then the splendid scent was gone.

I slowed and looked all around to see if a there was a temple procession passing through the neighborhood, or maybe there was an incense competition (they still have incense competitions in Japan) going on nearby (the fragrance had been far too strong and intense to have been merely a local incense burner, or to have been wafted from afar), or maybe a distant incense factory was on fire, or maybe I was having an olfactory flashback...

I concluded that whatever it was, it was a one-time anomaly, and forgot all about it. But repetition is a function of heavenly things. One day not long after I was riding along the same road with Kaya in the car and the windows open, when Kaya smiled her big smile of random happiness and said “ii nioi!” (nice smell!) And there was the fragrance again, along the same stretch of road and as strong as last time, with no evidence anywhere as to the source.

Now, even in winter, when I drive along there day or night I open the windows for an uplift and the scent is always there, it's like driving through a strong, deep stream of sacred fragrance about 15 meters wide, right through that neighborhood that doesn't have a single incense factory in it. I still don't know where the scent is coming from, but it's always wonderfully welcome, a free gift put on the air by the spirits in charge of random happiness...

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