floats fragrance on bright spring air–
sinks roots deep in soil
* * *
In fall 1999, when I was on my Nairobi sabbatical, I walked down this driveway and footpath daily. The scenery and smell were always changing, depending on the weather and what was cooking in the houses next to the footpath.
Because Nairobi is near the equator, the days and nights were nearly even. Sunrise and sunset arrived within half an hour of specified times. Within minutes daybreak arrived and the sun was up; dark descended just as suddenly. Flowers and flowering shrubs bloomed year round. During the day, the sun baked the top of my head. I carried a small sun parasol every time I left our apartment to walk to the main campus.
Most of the time it was dry and mild. Chilly in the early morning and at night, but pleasantly warm during the day, especially in the sun. Then the long rains began. Rain fell in sheets and torrents. They came suddenly, hung around for several weeks, and left as suddenly.
During the long rains, a large depression in a field next to the driveway/footpath quickly filled with enough water to create an impromptu pond. Planned, to prevent flooding. Plants, trees and pond life came alive. Everything covered in fine red dirt was now coated with thick red mud. Including my sandals and socks.
Jacaranda trees, not native to Kenya, came alive during the long rains. Because they don’t like thick red mud, their roots go deep and grow invasively looking for the soil and water they need. When they bloom it’s spectacular–not just the sight, but the fragrance. For a short time they’re at their peak. Then the flowers carpet the ground like confetti–one last look before they disappear until next time.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 February 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, Jacaranda Tree, October 1999
Jacaranda Flower from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacaranda