Today as I was outside walking Shay in her normal sniff, sniff, sniff “don’t pull me along mommy I’m smelling everything” walk I just closed my eyes and took a big whiff too. I could really smell the summer. The overwhelming scents of honeysuckle with undertones of magnolia were the first scents that hit me. Once of the best things about living in North Carolina is smell. As we walked past our vegetable garden the basil and mint competed with the flowers. Then I drew in the very distinct odor of the tomato plants.
Shay all along was concentrating on the ground smells of deer that had certainly passed through the property the night before. I wanted to teach her to enjoy the beautiful scents and not just those of other animals so I dragged my hand among the sage leaves and held it to her nose. She pretended to be interested in it for just a moment and then pushed her face deeper into my hand for a good petting.
From the sage I moved to the lemon thyme and then gave Shay another whiff. This prompted her to go right over to the low growing herb and sniff around. I realized she thought it might be a good place to leave her own scent so we quickly moved onto the grass.
As we walked in the yard the freshly cutgrass mixed with the clover top notes to make a familiar bouquet. I stopped and closed my eyes and sucked in the air hard, holding it in my throat like my yoga instructor has taught me to do. For a moment I felt as I could smell the fireflies and the dust on the gravel driveway. With my eyes closed I felt a tingle and the smell changed to something more pungent for just a second, then just as I opened my eyes to see if perhaps another animal was crossing our path I saw a flash of lightening and a few seconds later heard the confirmation of thunder. I think I actually smelled the lightening coming.
Paying attention to smells has served me well in the cooking part of my life. I’ve always been good at deciphering what ingredients are in a dish someone else has made because of my detective like nose. I also have not done things that dull my sense of smell, which can naturally diminish with age and abuse.
The only problem with a well-trained olfactory machine is that if I smell something tasty it starts my salivary glands going and makes my brain think I need to not just smell something good, but taste it as well. So for now I am going to spend as much time as possible with the flowers outside. I have never developed a taste for rosewater and the lavender is supposed to make you feel relaxed. So to combat any hunger pangs I might get I’m just going to go outside and stick my head in the gardenia bush that grows above my lavender and stay then until the feeling passes. Feel free to come and take a smelling tour of my garden anytime your diets needs it, but I suggest you stay away from the sage which may prompt you to go in search of an entire Thanksgiving meal.