Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sweet Smells

Almost every day someone tells me I smell good. I think that it is a combination of the fragrant lotion that I wear, and the lavender oil that I use in my yoga classes. I do have a really special perfume that I wear on weekends, I don't get nearly the compliments with that fragrance that I do with my everyday one.

It is interesting how smells bring people closer or keep them away. We all have fragrance memories. There is truly nothing as sweet as a newborn. But then the smell of fresh rain on dry earth is memorable too. I love the clean scent of clothes dried in the sun and fresh air. In the winter I bake bread, and coming into the house on a cold winter's day and the smell of bread baking is awfully cozy.

The smell of gardenias is one of my favorites. When my gardenias bloom in early summer, I fill the house with bouquets. There is something sensual about gardenias, they are so pure and white, yet their fragrance is heady and rich. My mom had a lilac bush in her front yard, and every spring I would gather arm loads of lilacs, the smell was most intoxicating.

I remember the smell of my grandmother Mamie's back yard. A mix of herbs, and damp moss and coffee, she would pour the grounds around her garden. I have a dog, Charlie who is just a throw away that no one wanted. Sometimes when I am a little down, he makes sure that I pet him and it is the strangest thing, he smells just like Mamie's back yard. I like to think that maybe
she has petted Charlie down with that old familiar smell to remind me that I am loved.

Another floral fragrance that I love is peony. I have peonies in my flower garden that belonged to Mamie and my mom and dad. When they bloom, those big beautiful pink and white blossoms, that soft sweet smell connects me to the three of them.

This winter we were lucky enough to have a couple of snows. Now there is quite a smell! Clean, crisp and sharp, so fresh that it takes your breath! The first time I drove down the California coast, the smell of dill and redwoods took my breath away.

In the fall, the smell of burning leaves transports me back to childhood, walking home from school in the fall when the whole neighborhood seemed to be burning leaves. I remember the smell of coal dust on my dad when he came in from the mines.

We have a fresh Christmas tree every year because I can't bear the thought of not smelling the tree when you walk in the front door. I make hot spiced cider as much for the way it makes the house smell as well as how good it tastes.

So tonight, what do I smell as I sit at my computer?...... for starters, Charlie has been here with me, so I definitely have his scent drifting about, there is a lavender candle on my desk, so I am getting a whiff of that woodsy freshness, there is a hint of my body lotion that floats by.
When you began to really concentrate on one sense, which tonight is the sense of smell, awareness becomes so heightened. So my friends, what about your memories of smell, and what do you smell right now?


  1. I wash my hair with Prell. A friend of mine always remarks on that scent.

    Good essay tonight.

  2. Charlene, I love the scent of Prell! When I was growing up, that was the shampoo at our house.
    Didn't know you could still buy it.
    Thanks for the kind remarks.