In some parts of the American Corn Belt, the topsoil is darker than chocolate and goes down 20 feet or more. Throughout the summer months, the fragrance of the earth, and all that grows in it, saturates the humid air.
I live in semi-arid Colorado nowadays, with its thin red soils, but I can still smell a hint of the earth; sometimes even smell enough of the earth to remind me of growing up in the Corn Belt.
Years ago, I would sit outside at night, in the warmth of the Illinois night, in air so damp I could sip it like wine. I thought it smelled like a woman’s hair. The earth mother’s hair, I imagined.
It was so easy in the summer to imagine the earth mother was close enough to smell her hair.
Someday I want to go back to Illinois. Some summer when the humid air is thick as wine.