by sandra on August 16, 2017

{I first published this post September 21, 2012.  Every fall, She shows up as a complete surprise and today was the day.  Each year, She reminds me that, just when you’re not expecting it, Life will waft something beautiful your way.}

It happened yesterday afternoon. I was being followed. I could feel it.  You know how you just know? It started at N. Highland and Virginia Avenue and continued all the way to Zonolite Drive – a distance of about one-and-a-half miles.

A mysterious presence drifted in through my car’s open windows, enveloping me, then surrounding me, then holding me captive.  My nostrils flared as I slipped deeper and deeper into a mesmerized state, but – what could I do?

I found myself hopelessly entranced by its power and magnitude, but I had to keep driving. To lose control at the wheel would have been dangerous. I looked into my rear-view mirror.  Nothing.  Nobody.  Nowhere – in any direction. This was a familiar experience,  an olfactory déjà vu. I had been here before, that much I knew. But I couldn’t place The Where and The When.

“Whaaa……?” my eyelids drooped. my brain dug around inside itself.

“What is………?” my memory vault creaked.

“What is thaaaa…………?”  i swerved a little to the left. the vault cracked open.

“Ooooooohhhhhhhh… OH! Now I remember!” then, the vault burst.

Sweet Olive! It was Sweet Olive!

How could I have forgotten? I love you so!

Sweet Olive, that exquisitely engaging harbinger of autumn, made its first cameo appearance in my life this afternoon, breezing across the stage of the changing seasons; meanwhile, Summer was lingering around the heavy velvet curtains, an ingénue uncertain of when to take her final bow.

A Special Envoy sent by Mother Nature, Sweet Olive’s blossom is a mysterious interloper, a siren whose mission is to lull us away from our attachment to summer. In all of her invisible magnificence, Sweet Olive sidles up to Summer, then… plucking a flower from her hypnotic bouquet, She extends it to Summer, who lowers her eyes. “Another season impeccably performed,” Sweet Olive reassures her.

“Same time next year?” Summer beams at her glowing review.

I never know when Sweet Olive will show up with her atomizer and spritz me into a state of olfactory animation. I never, ever tire of her and I never, ever want to let her go. Each breeze wafting by, accompanied by her melodic fragrance, is received as a gift that feels brand new each time.

And aren’t those the best gifts of all?


Magical writing. I wish i knew what it smelled like so i coukd have the full 4D experience from your post.

by Tammy on August 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm. Reply #

Every year, it’s exactly like how I wrote. Once Sweet Olive leaves the stage for the season, I completely forget that she exists until she shows up the following year.

That, in and of itself, is magical….that each and every year, I can find myself just as taken by her fragrance as if it were the first time. Because, truly, it is.

Thanks for reading, Tam.

by sandra on August 17, 2017 at 3:42 pm. Reply #

Hi Leslie,
It’s botanical name is osmanthus fragans (which I learned just this moment). Here’s a link for more info:

by sandra on August 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm. Reply #

The one region in the U.S. where I have not spent much time is the South, which must be where Sweet Olive grows. Even though I am a gardener, I had never heard of it. That has changed, thanks to you. I’m off to learn more about it, Leslie

by Leslie in Oregon on August 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm. Reply #

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