We are rolling through Spring and right into Summer. The temperatures have risen and the days are slightly longer. (One thing I learned after moving here is that there is not much shift in the number of hours of daylight from the shortest to the longest day.) It is more humid and the air is thick with the smell of one plant, tree, or flower after the next. First there was the Wattle that smelled of vanilla and licorice. Then there was the Sweet Magnolia, then Jacaranda, Mock Orange, Honeysuckle, and some kind of Cassia (a relative of Wisteria). Now the air is full of the perfume of Jasmine. There were green leafy boarders all over the place until one day they all burst open with tons of magical white flowers.
It is hell on people with allergies, but what a wonderful thing to be attacked by. It is so strange to walk down streets with construction sites, warehouses, and stores, seeing and smelling beautiful natural life. The climate and the area just support it in spite of the human push. The plants are pushing back. It reminds me of the Talking Heads song … "there was a parking lot, now it's all covered with flowers…"
I am waiting for the Frangipani (Plumeria) trees to start to flower as that will be both beautiful and fragrant. Right now there is just the freaky looking trunks and empty branches with a few spiky leaves on the ends looking like something from Star Trek. They are sure to transform quickly.
Whatever the month, whenever it rains, I inhale the smell of Eucalyptus and Camphor trees and I can't help but feel healthy even if I am surrounded by traffic and garbage. I went to the beach yesterday and there were piles of kelp washed up. It smelled so salty and good, not rancid and rank.
I don't know exactly what it is, but this city is rough around the edges, scrappy, and somewhat thrown together. It is a mixed up, multi-layered work in progress and I like that about it. I wish I could get photos of all the things that strike me as I walk or drive by, and I wish Skype or Facebook could get smellevision.
(the photos are: jasmine, wild native violets, magnolia and wattle)