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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: The Scents of Spring
By Emily Gibson


Taxes were due. I had procrastinated. Only two short weeks ago, I was stuck inside our farm house for several days, working on completing our federal income taxes before the April 15 deadline. It is always a miserable task and I long to be anywhere but in the house. When the forms are done and the tax check written, all I want to do is leave my desk and computer far behind and head out for wide open spaces, with nary a tax form in sight.

So for a week or more of spring mornings, I have been rising just before dawn, and have gone outside to breathe deeply of the scents that hang heavy in the cool moist air. The perfume from thousands of orchard blossoms on our farm is heady and intoxicating. There is nothing quite like these three weeks each year when our farm becomes a mass of snow white and pink scented flowers, busy with honey bees and eventually showering petals to the ground as the fruit starts to form.

However, such blessing can come with a price. I’m allergic to tree pollen. I breathe deeply and… sneeze and wheeze. Even the best medicine can’t stop my reaction. So much loveliness causes so much misery. So I retreat back into the house and look out the window and enjoy the outside view from afar, dabbing my dripping nose.

Not all the spring scents are of the floral variety. This is also the same time of year our dairy farm neighbors start to empty out their manure storage lagoons and begin to spread their thousands of gallons of liquid manure on the surrounding fields, allowing the “brown gold” to soak into the earth, readying the ground for the hay or corn crop to come later on this summer. That scent hangs heavy in the morning air as well, pungent and unforgettable, penetrating into our clothing and hair so we carry the smell back into the house with us. Of course, I’ll never become allergic to manure. In fact, as nasty a smell as it is, it’s invigorating in a perverse sort of way. I know where it comes from, I know what its potential is, and I know the crop it yields. It is, in itself, as treasured as the blossoms that yield fruit on our farm.

So taxes become the manure in our lives. They are pretty stinky too. Just like manure, they are an inevitable part of our daily existence, and just as disagreeable. Yet, spread out where needed, those collective taxes fertilize and grow our communities, our schools, our roads, our health care and... a few other things we may wish would not be funded.

So next spring, as I lock myself indoors to spread numbers across my desktop, I will hope they may yield fruit in the outside world, sometime, somewhere.

And I’ll stifle my sneezes as I celebrate the Cents of Spring.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/07/09
I like that line--Taxes become the manure of our lives. I'm going to remember that one. You did a good job with that analogy. The play-on-words with the title and the last line was clever, and your description of spring well done.
Sara Harricharan 05/07/09
LOL! I can relate to this kind of in and out dance, either I choose to breathe freely indoors or be miserable outside. What a light touch of humor on topic. Nice!
Lollie Hofer05/12/09
I don't know how I managed to goof up so BIG but I did just that. After reading your story I went to leave a comment but it didn't end up here. You'll find my comments on the story, "God's Breath." Only I can make a goofy mistake like that (blush, blush)! The writer of the other story is scratching her head trying to figure out how I could remotely think her story is manure (blush, blush)!
Patricia Herchenroether05/12/09
This is neat. You and I have "opposite" allergies. I am allergic to indoor stuff, so I can envy you in the winter when I'm sneezing at wood smoke and you can envy me in the spring. lol

I have to check God's Breath now (teehee)