I'm still in Florida and it's raining.
Standing outside an apartment block in Sun City Center, an older woman commented on the torrent as it fell from the thunderheads. 'I love this smell,' she said, watching as the water struck the Florida fir trees and the palms in fat droplets.
And with her comment, I was instantly transported three-thousand miles to a place very different from the Florida panhandle; to the rain-washed streets of Ireland, and to the smells that remind me of my home.
Rain in Ireland is mixed with a thousand different odours, and each of those smells takes me back to a particular season.
In the winter, Irish rain mists and billows, and walking through the streets of a small town, one can smell the peat that burns in warm grates, the fires nestled beyond thick walls. In the spring, Irish rain pelts from towering cumulus, and it is mixed with the fragrance of blooming heathers.
In the Summer, Irish rain falls softly from thick black skies; the humid days carry the odours of newly mown lawns and summer flowers. And in the Autumn, the cool rains again pelt from the skies, throwing the smells of decaying leaves into an atmosphere once again heavy with the smoke of peat and coal.
Rain reminds me of Ireland, but so do the smells of that place. They mix and blow, gently wafting into a walker's soul, carrying them on toward new seasons in a land that will always stay green.