Darkness Visible

There is an insufficiency of words when describing the smell of green mango. It is chthonic. At once mineral and metallic earthiness combined with a sharp bitterness that is like biting into chocolate and collecting foil wrapper in the mouth. It is also tropical which is evocative but not a particularly accurate descriptor. There is a palm tree that grows near beaches in Queensland – I first noticed them as a child in Noosa – they produce inedible orange fruit that falls from the tree when ripe. This fruit, when it falls during summer, on the forest floor and the paths and that lead to the beach, begin to ferment in the heat. That smell, too, is hard to properly describe although it is perhaps more difficult since it conjures other scent-memories: coconut oil lotion, drying salt on the skin, cigarette smoke. Green mangoes have, in their smell, the same potential to sweetly ferment.