I went down to that damp green place of churned earth and nettle beside the cow pasture and the rectory; the bleached wood of the little kissing gate glistening and greasy to the touch. I had not seen for a long time such a profusion of watery green in that shoulder-high, wild, profligate, tangle of undergrowth; as prodigally abandoned and as sensual as a lifted skirt.
The rain fell as it had for so long and still its joy was undiminished. To stand there, in the midst of this writhing, dank fecundity was a joy too...
... to feel the rain on my hands and wrists, leaching up round my cuffs, as I brushed the delicate parasols of the cow parsley, covering my fingers with those little black specks and tiny insects and pollen
... to draw dripping fingers across the scimitar blades of weeping grass and to slide them up the firm plantain stems and over their glistening heads
... to feel the thrill of the first hot kiss of nettle as I swept my hands through the green depths of their feathery enchantment and traced, with my finger, the snaking lace-work of silvery trails of slug and diffident snail.
Perhaps it was the proximity of the rectory... Perhaps it was the sweet scent of cows' breath and soil on the air... Perhaps it was just because I was alive and human, but I found myself thinking... 'if God has a scent what would it be?'
I have lived long enough to know that for some it is the cloud of incense and candle wax that anoints the altar. For others it is of brimstone and the refiner's fire...
I thought I smelled it once, in a small welsh chapel, washed with winter sunlight, with wooden floors and the scent of old hymnals and dust.
But standing there in that riotous wilderness of life, I realised all those were too dry. The scent of God must be vibrant and living and wet; like the scent of sex; like the scent of birth; ... like .... like ... the scent of rain cascading from nettle to dock leaf and of fungus growing on decaying wood...
... and I set out, once more, to follow that rill of laughter across these friendly hills.