The umbrellas were out in Sunshiny South Africa’s coastal areas. That heady scent is called petrichor. . Scientists and chemists define it as a chemical reaction of plants secreting oils during the drier periods. Bacteria living in the soil, is also released. Marry that with a combination of nitric oxide and petrichor is derived.
Luke Bryan, my other favourite country music singer, sang about “rain being a good thing”. His explanation is that life is affected by rain. “Rain makes corn, and corn makes whiskey.” — and who doesn’t like a good whiskey?!
Too much of rain can be a bad thing, think Hurricane Harvey. Fortunately, South Africa is blessed with an abundance of sunshine, more so than rain. Visiting rains are welcomed and embraced.
Canny me, I reverse the car out of her carport and let her be bathed by the rain. Frugal me refuses to pay for the car wash. I stand at the kitchen window partially covered by half white dutch lace curtains and contemplate the choices between preparing creamy cuisines, a chicken curry or thick soups with dollops of butternut and a wand of cinnamon. Or maybe just scones lathered in cream and jam with coffee.
I note that the resident mango tree has its September dust washed off, The newly planted paw paw tree is flourishing. The banana tree coyly and delicately hides her pregnant bunch of baby bananas, with leaves split from the September’s wind. Spring’s purple and white flowers bloom on the “yesterday, today and tomorrow” tree. This brunfelsia tree was brought my late Dad from relatives in Newcastle. Her poetry is richly significant and alive, as she blooms for me, as we remember loved ones lost during the fasting month of Pitar Paksh. Despite Dad’s absence, he gives me flowers. The mint planted under her shade by Mom grows still, but has managed to sneak under the fence and begin another family in the neighbour’s garden.
The Purple Queen, the bougainvillea reigns supremely from the fence, her stems overflowing with violet butterflied flowers. Even the kitties are apprehensive of her prickly nature and give her a wide berth. The double bean tree is thriving, her tendrils intricately woven into the wire mesh. A couple of meters away, the huge green sump pump basin has been transformed into a veggie garden. The thyme has spread herself to meet with the frilly lettuce. The coriander and shallots are ready to be cut for the savouries I intend making on a cold day like this. The king of herbs, the basil should have had his leaves cut two weeks ago, has now sprouted little white flowers. An idle thought here but did you know that the herbalist, John Gerard noted that people stung by scorpions are most likely to feel no pain if they ate basil?
In front of the herbs, the yellow, red and green bell pepper plants shake off their raindrops as they sit in their individual pots. The peppers will arrive soon and we anticipate crisp ingredients for our summer salads. Definitely more preferable than the mass produced ones sold at exorbitant prices.
Small pots houses an abundance of colourful happy flowers. The rocks and stones that had been handpicked for the miniature cactus garden gleams white. They hold even the odd weed but allows the lush cactus to flower, her light pink single bloom.
There will be weeds. That too is okay, as I espied the kitten cleaning his teeth on them!
I note the rainbow that the rain has brought and wonder about the pot of gold. Does it really exist? Yes, if you ask me but not quite in that sense. It is transformed and exists in the overflowing glittery hues that arch herself across the landscape against the faint sun not quite brave enough to venture out. For today, the rain has lessened the chance of skin cancer and allowed the sand to remain unmarked by footprints at Umdloti Beach,
Since it is the school holiday, a box office movie has been rented and a cosy, bonding haven has been created for the family, kittens and cockatiels included, as they take refuge indoors.
The windows have been rinsed cleaned and it is quite cathartic to watch the rain sneaking long purging tears down the windows. Yes, I love my Sunshiny South Africa but the rain is welcome for all that he brings.
Herbs for the savouries