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Petrichor - The Lost Fragrance of Rain

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Petrichor - The Lost Fragrance of Rain
Yesterday I walked home from my hospital appointment. It felt so good to be out in the fresh air of tree-lined East Park Drive. I had reached the zoo before I dared to remove my face mask and take deep breaths. This was only my second outside venture on foot since I began to emerge from lockdown and my self-isolating. I was enjoying the freedom.
Being inside the hospital made me feel anxious and uncomfortable, and present circumstances of pandemic meant I had to go it alone. It began on Thursday night when a recurring eye problem, which had troubled me for a few days, took a turn for the worst, completely out of my control and I had no choice but to seek proper help. The 111 helpline referred me to A&E. I was scared, it was the last place I wanted to be. I was in pain from my eye. I felt sick, unsure if it was the pain or anxiety of where I was and not being able to see properly. Blood tests showed my blood sugar was all over the place, my potassium level too low and I was a bit dehydrated. Well, it was after midnight, I was scared, tired, should have been in bed, so I’m not surprised. I wasn’t offered a drink of water or a banana, but I was looked after very well and as always, I have lots of praise for our NHS. They gave me medication and wanted me back the next morning, Friday, in the eye clinic. On Friday they nodded approval, changed the meds and wanted me back in clinic on Monday afternoon, yesterday. Now they’ve got me, they won’t let me go. I’m on follow-up now for August.
I think it had rained during the morning. I couldn’t really remember. I was concerned about returning to clinic, being there on my own, but I had things to do before two of my grandchildren arrived. Busy Monday, but everything fell into place. My husband dropped me at Outpatients, kids in tow, and returned home to await my call.
I was so glad to be out, reasonably unscathed, and the outside air was very welcoming. I phoned to say I would walk. I only live about twenty minutes brisk walk, or half an hour stroll away. Apart from the noisy traffic, it is an enjoyable path, even more so when you can see where you’re going properly. I’d been administered eye drops and was still under the influence of them. My only problem was overhanging plants along the side of the golf course which I mainly managed to dodge, but didn’t see some of the thin stalks until it was too late. No harm done.
Everywhere was green and lush. I tried to remember or imagine what it all smelt like. I decided it was fresh and clean, earthy with a hint of pine. I don’t know if my sense of smell will ever return. We’ll see. That’s chemo for you. If it does come back, I hope I will experience petrichor and recognize it.
My poem is a memory of the rain-soaked garden at a relative's home.
I remember when life had fragrance, Everything from a distinctive scent To a subtle hint of a substance, Breathing through, delicate, transient.
The warm sweetness after summer rain Drenched the rose garden and swamped the lawn. Leaves and petals floated to the drain, Sweet peas, bedraggled, soggy, forlorn.
Drips from the sycamore and the beech Splashing puddles on the patio. Drooping honeysuckle, out of reach. Sodden wisteria hanging low.
I remember the heady perfume Of old-fashioned roses in full bloom. The smell of rain I knew before, But not the proper name, petrichor.
Pamela Winning 2020
Thanks for reading, keep safe, Pam x
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