I love the smell of Carolina in the summer.
When the sun is low and the peepers holler, the fragrance of the living earth rises and fills the air.
It is something akin to medicine or maybe that’s just how it soothes my soul. It is the smell of the teeming soil and the green, green earth, of fresh cut grass and pine pollen and manure. It is the rot of the forest floor and the smell that lingers after a soaking rain. It is herbal and floral, a scent that makes me feel both very hungry and also completely satisfied. I could use all the lovely words I possess and still, I’m afraid I would fall short of capturing the wonder of it.
I never smelled it until I was 35. Sure, someday I may look back and recall being a young woman smelling a Carolina summer for the very first time, but as it stands now, I think it’s a shame I had to wait so long.
Such a shame, I don’t dare travel in the evening with the windows up. I don’t waste a morning drinking my coffee inside the walls of my kitchen, like I would the rest of the year.
No, summer in Carolina is meant for porches, for gardens, and for fishing docks. It is meant for warm, dark drives under the towering pines and the clear, piercing stars, the windows fully down ushering in that lovely perfume.
It is the smell of home, and when I stand with my toes in the soil and drink it in, my prayer is not to bottle the scent. Surely, that would spoil the magic of it. Instead, I ask God to give me grace to stay planted in this lush and lovely place. I ask Him to fill my lungs and my nostrils again and again, to let me breathe this in, tasting it, until I am an old enough woman that 35 feels very young.