Friday, July 16, 2010

The Scent of Life

It's late now. The summer night has bled the heat of the day with a vampires patient thirst. Sucking it slowly, draining the heavy thick air. The curtains beside me billow; sheer fabric whispering a lover's endearments. I sigh. Like wayward Christmas lights escaped from their string, the fireflies dance below in an endless game of tag.

Yet as I sit here, it is not the sound of the night that occupies me. Crickets chirp, leaves rustle, the chatter of neighbors dim and distant. It is not the slick feel of my shower-damp skin, random drops of water sliding down my neck from the hair coiled above.
For woven, entwined and infusing it all is the scent, the aroma....the fragrance of life.

I close my eyes. It permeates the air. Saturates my pores. The smell of grass and smothered bonfires and summer baked pavement. Grilled salmon with dill, incense.....paint. The coffee pot is filled with fresh ground, set for early morning. "April freshness" is spilling from the sheets in the the dryer into the warm night. The drift of smokey sweetness from the swirling whiskey on the desk tempts me...

Scent is so powerful. Its cognitive stimulation and connection to memory is utterly astounding. Recently I was driving with the windows down and while I am unsure of the elements that were involved, without warning I was inundated by the smell of my childhood babysitter's home. It's half a dozen states away in the mountains of Colorado and though I was only there a handful of times--the absolute vividness of that brown shag carpet and towering A-frame house was nearly overwhelming. I haven't had reason to even think about that place or my four year-old world in decades....but there I was.
She was putting marigolds in a glass on on the table.

Have you ever been swept away to your grandmother's kitchen via a simple apple pie? Drug back into a nightmare by the scent of your ex's cologne? Every time I smell fresh ground nutmeg I land in a bowl of warm rice pudding wrapped in a shawl on a crisp autumn day.

Ironing shirts leaves me standing next to my father before he left for work....

I am addicted to scent. Perfumes and lotions and incense and food. I love when someone walks into my home and says, "wow it smells so good..." Utter joy when I see the boys pause in the doorway after school and just inhale.


You can use scent to lose weight, improve your mood, even increase your passion and desire. Fragrance lures us, inspires us, transports us.

Tonight, it has me wrapped in Summer, enfolded in her delicious warm arms, and reveling in the night.


Susan Erickson said...

so very true....subtle and magical, smell intoxicates and on the memory train, it takes us places in our minds. I love a good whiff of remembering.....

I am Harriet said...

Stopping by from the Friday Follow to say hello!
Thanks for playing.
Have a great Friday!

Mom et al said...

Mmmm...beautifully put, and I know exactly what you mean. I've had that happen to me and the affect can be shocking.

For me it's the smell of fire, or more so the soot that is left behind. One whiff and I am a child clinging to my father upon his return home from a night on the job. He too is covered in soot from his last conquered blaze.

And if I want to do so with intention, I just make eggplant parmesan, my grandmother's recipe, and I'm standing in her kitchen instead of my own.

Therese said...

I was 10 when my grandmother died. I remember being told to sort through some of her belongings and choose some things to remember her by. I picked an empty box lined with velvet. It must have sat on a chest next to her lotions and perfume. It was filled with her scent. I remember the ache in my heart, years later when I went to open it, a moment when I needed her arms around me, and the scent had finally faded. Amazing, though, how still I can smell it if I close my eyes...
Beautiful post, Chantel :)

Danielle said...

I could almost smell everything you described. The smell of bacon reminds me of weekends at my grandmothers house.

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With our best said...

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