Friday, March 19, 2010

Good Garden, Bad Smell

I had a client several years ago with a really pretty little back yard and patio area. She was a really nice woman, and I really enjoyed working in her yard except for one minor issue-it stank. It smelled like a combination of dead squirrels and rotting stilton cheese-esp in late summer and fall. The odor was distinct, but elusive. It would reach my nose and I would remain steadfast and alert in an effort to sniff it out-but to no avail. No matter how many times I tried to discreetly follow the scent on my hands and knees as I weeded, the smell would elude me. I could not for the life of me, pinpoint it. Good God, woman! What are you burying under your mock orange and your vinca minor? Your neighbors limbs? I never had the heart to ask her why her yard smelled like shit and the issue hardly ever came up. Maybe, she had grown accustomed to it. Then, I became paranoid. Maybe I was the only one who smelled it...

Eventually, we went our separate ways but the smell returned back into my life two years ago on my jogging route. Not again, I thought the first time it hit my nose. What cruel fate is this? Since the area in question was next to a busy avenue, I was forced to wait for the light and therefore take in the noxious odor as I jogged in placed and waited anxiously for the light to change.

Some days I just ignored the smell, other days it was as pungent as I remembered and I would march around the area in question demanding answers from silent shrubs and skittering birds. Damn you stench! Reveal yourself! It may or may not be true that at one time I turned to the roar of traffic, waved my arms and exclaimed, "They call me mad while they are all mad themselves!" Then again, on reflection, I think I just quietly made a face and trotted home taking in the scent of freshly cut lawn to counteract the evil emanation.

Call it an act of god or a simple firing of neurons, but one day, last fall, upon jogging to the site in question, I had an epiphany. What, I asked, does this area have in common with the nice lady's yard? And then, perspiring and breathing heavily, it dawned on me. The tree. The persimmon tree. The fruit! The stinking rotting fruit! Ah Ha! It was in front of my nose the whole time, just standing there quietly laughing to itself as it would drop stink bomb after stink bomb. Dumb human. Silly, bipedal beast. What took you so long?

Though this be madness, yet there is method in't...

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