On Saturday, I walked to and from the library with Anya. On the way back, I briefly caught a whiff of something that reminded me of clay. Not play-doh (though I like that), but the real thing—the earthy smell of the clay that I encountered in art classes when I was a kid. I love that smell. As I walked past it, I wondered at the fact that I hadn’t ever tried to work with clay or pottery, just to follow that smell.
That, of course, got me thinking about other smells: the smells that mark my everyday life, or lift my spirits, or bring me back to the past. Below are just a few of them.
Of course, since childhood I have loved the smell of musty old books, or any library book for that matter. (See my post last November about the Benson.)
The heady, sickly-sweet smell of lilacs always brings me back to my childhood. This is partly b/c we had lilac bushes between our yard and one of the neighbors, but also b/c every Memorial Day, little kindergarten girls would get dressed up and walk in the town parade carrying lilacs. (I’m the dark-haired girl with bangs.)
The smell of coffee, freshly brewed in a French press, is the smell of morning, of course.
Then there are the food smells:
· The smell of garlic sautéing promises savory delights.
· Basil smells of summer and fresh, bright-tasting foods.
· I love the fact that it’s possible to tell when a cake is close to done by the way that the kitchen smells.
The smell of the ocean almost always makes me feel at peace. It’s a smell that feels like home.
I could go on and on. Smells have such a strong emotional tug for us all.
What are the smells that give shape to your life?