Auld Lang Syne

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sun-baked Wood

What are the smells associated with the various seasons? My friend Don (who used to be my high school boyfriend)  reminded me how powerful smells are when he commented to me that whenever he goes to the beach, the smells of tide and sand and sea make him think of me and summertime. I recently read a comment on another blog that the smell of sun-baked wood made the author think of summer. These two comments are lurking now in my margins. I think I will have to do some serious thinking on this and write a bit about sensory details that speak to the seasons.

Several months ago, I bought a cologne that smells like summer to me. Bobbie Brown's "Beach" is as close to what I recall about beach summers as I can come. When I spritz a little on after a shower, I am transported back in time. I wonder if Don were to smell that scent, would he think of summers at our favorite beach? I do think of that exact place, and can almost feel the sand under my feet, the splashy cold of the surf.

It is not just summer that carries scent. There is a certain aroma after a fresh snow that I sometimes experience when doing laundry. There is also the way the air smells after a rain, REALLY strong after a thunderstorm. My daughter calls it the wet dirt smell. It is more than that. It is the smell of spring. We writers are fortunate to have these olfactory experiences to make our poems more embodied. When I read "sun-baked wood," I was immediately aware of how driftwood smells wrapped in seaweed, cooking in the sun on the rocks. Oh and how those rocks smell too. I wonder sometimes if I am REALLY sensitive, or if I am a little bit nuts. (both?)

Did you know that some people are not able to smell skunk odor? It's true. My ex-husband cannot smell a skunk. I used to laughingly say that of course one doesn't smell a skunk if one IS a skunk... a slightly bitter comment to be sure. But I have discovered that the "ability" to smell certain things (skunks being one of these) is a genetic thing. True! What a blessing to NOT smell skunks! I have an unusual "sniffer" myself: freshly brewing coffee smells like tuna sandwiches to me. Yes, like TUNA. Who ever heard of that? Is that a genetic thing?

Scent is a powerful thing. We are both blessed and cursed by it. Time to go write about this myseterious sense.

1 comment:

  1. A wood fire (even i summer)reminds me of snow. I can image a white coat of snow over the trees.