Serendipity and the scents of war


Lavender on rocky hillsideI wrote the other day about scent, as one of my favourite words (serendipity’s another). Scent isn’t a word you’d normally associate with the war in Afghanistan. But it cropped up in a Radio Scotland programme, Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War in Their Own Words, recounting life in the Afghan war zones. The account takes the form of diary entries, e-mails home and transcripts in the words of the soldiers themselves. Here is one such excerpt:

I was conscious by now of the overtime your senses do in the aftermath of a drop as you try to gain a foothold on your situation but this was strange… a lovely smell. What could it be? The opposite of sheep dung. […] It was lavender…growing in the gullies in a horseshoe of a mountain… its scent had been blown in by the hot air from the jets and downdrafts from the rotors. And here we were, taking firing positions amongst it.

The book “Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War In Their Own Words” will be published in autumn 2010. I couldn’t find details of the publisher, but will post them when available.

Photo courtesy of Lin Padgham

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