7.03.2010

The Nose Knows: The Smells of Summer

" Some suggest that our sense of smell evokes the most powerful memories. And when we close our eyes and summon the perfume of fruit pies baking, fresh-mown grass, line-dried laundry, and herb beds at midday, we're convinced: the nose knows."- Anonymous

I believe the sense of smell does evoke the most powerful memories. I can walk through the garden in the morning taking in the scent of syringa and be back climbing a hill just to breathe in those blossoms when I was ten.  It is hard to find a rose anymore with a true scent, but my Honey Perfume rose transports me to either grandmother's house in the summer as I pulled on petals and tried to catch bees. The spicy smell of petunias puts me on my mom's backyard deck. Lilies evoke Eugene and my brother's aromatic flowers he used to grow.

Smelling the strong odor of  campfire smoke takes me back to Camp Neewahlu,high school gatherings up the river, camping at Lolo, Canyon Creek, Steamboat Rock, Lake Chelan, Heyburn State Park, a writing retreat at Payette Lake, and our own gazebo. Campfire smoke lingers on clothes after a wet,cold camping trip. Campfire smoke hangs in the tent, on the dogs, and even the cats.

What else does summer smell like? The other day I covered myself with sunscreen before I went out to work in the yard. It was Coppertone. The smell took me back to the swimming pool, Rose Lake, and the Coeur d'Alene River more than thirty years aga. Summer smells like chlorine, dry pine needles, barbecued steak, and toasted marshmellows. It smells like honeysuckle, fresh lavender, boat oil, and lake water. Dill is the smell of all the women in my family that have hung the plants up to dry. Bacon is the smell of the best addition to green beans fresh from the garden.

Yes, the sense of smell does evoke powerful memories. What does summer smell like to you?

1 comment :

  1. Does this count for one of my class comments?! Just kidding!! I love your kitty by the fire and your wonderful discussions of smell, flowers and being transported back in time! Very nice! Smell would be one of the last senses I would want to loose, if I had a choice in the matter! It can set my mood-pro or con! You have a wonderful blog - very inspirational! Thanks!!!

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