By William G. Johnsson
I woke up in the dead of night, entranced by the exotic fragrance wafting through the open window. Thick darkness, not a quiver of air—but this! Never had I encountered anything so sweet, so pure. Wherever was it coming from?
When morning dawned, I embarked on a search. Surely there was a tree in blossom or a bush or a shrub that I had not been aware of.
No tree in bloom. No bush. No shrub.
The scent had disappeared, leaving no trace. Only mystery.
A couple of nights later, I went for a walk in the evening’s cool after the blazing heat of summer in India. The air held its breath in perfect stillness. Suddenly, there it was! Unmistakable—the same alluring fragrance floating in a band across our path.
We walked on a few steps and it was gone. We had walked through it and out of it. So near, so tantalizingly close, but it had vanished.
We walked on, turned a corner into another lane. Suddenly we found it, found the column of heavenly beauty hovering across our pathway. It drifted in a meandering train, narrow but intense. By stepping forward and back, we could track its course, follow it to the source.
A big surprise awaited us. The heavenly scent emanated not from a tree, bush, or shrub but from a tiny vine that entwined itself around a palm tree. The vine was barely noticeable, but it bore little white flowers: a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I could hardly believe it. Such magnificence from such insignificance—incredible!
Now I knew what to look for in our yard. Not a tree. Not a bush. Not a shrub. A vine so lowly with flowers so tiny that it didn’t warrant a second glance.
Unless you knew!
I found it, growing silently beneath our window—our heavenly visitor.
Later I learned that the exotic plant was commonly known as Lady of the Night. Its flower was nocturnal, only experienced in the depth of warm, still darkness.
The Lady of the Night—what a gift. I love it.
I love all green growing things. Bursting with energy, they paint the planet, perfume the world by day and by night. The earth lies parched, powder dry, thirsting. Then clouds roll in and the drumming, thrumming of heavenly blessings begins. In two days, three days, something happens within the brown soil. Slowly, subtly, inexorably, the brown is changing. You see it, feel it: green growing things are painting the planet.