Many years ago, when the Wednesday afternoon research seminars in my department (the fur on Dr Cat's back has just stood up) used to be a cross between gladiator fights at the Coliseum and episodes of The Office in their intensity, competitiveness and general social malfunctioning, one afternoon in spring a young man who had grown up in Melbourne but who was visiting from some advanced comp.lit. programme in the US, came in to sit behind the desk and laid on top of it a long spray of jasmine, commenting on how it reminded him, more than anything else, of Melbourne.
Today the sky is blue; high clouds are racing by; and the air is filled with the sweet scent of jasmine. I could even smell it when I came out of the gym this morning, which is on a busy road. There are more exotic varieties of jasmine, perhaps, but this one drapes itself luxuriously and expansively over garden fences all over the city, and on sunny, windy days like this, it fills the streets with its extravagant fragrance.
It smells like home.