Saturday, July 02, 2011


A few months ago I paused a while under the awning at Hyde and Pacific.
It was raining, it was late at night. Light rain is utterly wasted during the day time because the smells are muted - when streets are empty, things smell fresher, greener.

I had seen two raccoons here years earlier, waiting for the light before they crossed the street.

How well behaved! Yet as soon as they reached the other side they proved that law-abiding only went so far - they tested every door and window along the street and under the trees, dividing their miscreance between them, alternating.
They made a smoothly co-operative couple, a pair of furry criminals happily and disgracefully growing old together.

I can imagine them holding paws for all eternity, feeling safe with each other, comforted by familiar touch and smell.

Odour invokes, smells awaken the imagination. The mind's nose jumps from fresh green leaves to remembered perfumes, fragrant objects, other people, the new new aroma of leather goods.....

Food, of course.

Rice stick noodles, the savouriness of soy, the sharp tang of chilies, the fresh green whiffs of cilantro and parsley, a floral zest-hint of lime.
Noodle soup: it's happy food.

[I've been eating rice-stick noodles a lot lately - when you're only cooking for one person, soup-noodles are much more convenient than rice-food. The brilliant green of fresh herbs against the snow-whiteness is striking even in the half-dark of evening.
It glistens, and it smells so fresh!]

Sometimes I sit at the table with the window open after dinner, listening to the faint murmurs from across the back yards.
I would enjoy company, but I like the near-silence too.
There are aromatic things growing out there.
High anise, wild oregano, yellow acacia.


Soon it will be the time to put up the net around my bed, and start burning a stick of incense every night to chase away the mosquitoes. Not that there are many of them, but even one bug can keep you up. Mosquitoes do not like smoke, it interferes with their hunt.

Some fumes are more effective than others.
Snow pear (雪梨香 suut lei heung) is discrete, a powdery antique fragrance, and through years of familiarity in the background every summer, comforting, and quieting to the mood.
I don't know if it really chases them away.
But it works wonders on the mind.

Everything will turn out fine.
Never postpone living.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


May the fur be with you! said...

Are there still raccoons in your neighborhood?

The back of the hill said...


Haven't seen raccoons here in a few years. Not enough leftover pizza, probably.

Search This Blog


Some drugs to which people become addicted, which may necessitate incontinence pants, also induce a high quotient of gibberance. Especially ...