Down South, here in Joburg, Imbolc is just 3 weeks away and I believe that I can almost see Spring heaving into view over the horizon.
The mornings are less viciously cold and a little moister, the Sun just that tiny bit higher in the midday sky. An actual ant was scouting out the territory of my desk at work the other day. And to step outside of the house in the early morning hours is to be hit in the nostrils with the effluvia of a drugs-manufacturing house.
Bloubosrand does sometimes produce some odd smells in the pre-dawn or post-dusk hours. Burning rubber is one of the favourites of course – from the squatter camps in the vicinity – but home dry cleaning chemicals runs a close second (and seems to have largely stopped since the over-the-road neighbour lost his job at Northern Cleaners), and occaisionally a more human-organic smell is the Odour of the Day.
But this morning when I stuck my head into the study to collect the partner’s coffee cup, I was struck by a hauntingly familiar smell – the scent of nitrogenous fertilizer components which marked the territory of my Dad’s agricultural laboratory in Binfield.
Not an unpleasant smell, for me, but my partner reminded me that it is still Winter and large-scale garden fertilization is unlikely to be occuring at this time.
But, on the Friday before the schools reconvene, what is likely to be cooking is a first batch of drugs for resale.
Having just gone through a day with a potential unexploded bomb a few meters down the street yesterday, I was having thoughts of a more immediately violent kind.
This is not Spring.
It is very firmly Pre Spring.