Perfumed Skies

The only time I recall the desert air coming alive

with sweet, earthy fragrances

was in the aftermath of the overdue monsoons

Truly giving and glorious

and something to be relished

with each softened step

across the terminally brutal terrain

but much to my annual dismay

far too fleeting

leaving me needing

So it comes as a welcome surprise

that my pointy nose has reawakened

to a constant wealth of otherworldly aromas

here in the heel between two seas

here in our small, Italian town

where the houses touch

and voices travel

and vegetable gardens vastly outnumber shops

where hearth fires still burn well into spring

to warm the dark, old interiors

and cook the day’s big meal

scenting the air with homey fragrances

and happy thoughts

Strolling down narrow streets

and country lanes

flanked by fertile patchworks

green, yellow and red

purple, blue and white

past tidy ranks of olive trees

holding hidden bounties

past plentiful citrus trees

burdened by their unpicked generosity

bursting yellow

passing ancient grapevines wrapped around rickety trellises

hovering over well-tended courtyards

and fields where wildflowers grow uninterrupted

filling the breezes with sweet, syrupy perfumes

we find ourselves continuously smiling

and stopping

to suck in the air

Tired by my years

but grateful to be here

where farmers leave respectful wild patches

in otherwise tilled fields

and still farm things by hand

by heart

by instinct

It’s good to watch the tomato seedlings grow

in their straight as arrows rows

Close witness to nature’s abundance

in the careful care of each small farm

Growing taller, wider, stronger

day by day

just steps from field to market to table

to our sated bellies

and our simple, quiet lives

beneath these perfumed skies.