You Smell

One of the best things about get up and out really early in the morning is that you are able to get a head full of relatively unsullied air.

The early morning tang that hits you as you first open the door is always just a little different depending on the season, temperature and weather. That first whiff can sometimes instantly transport me to a very, very specific moment in the past. Not necessarily an important moment – just an ordinary day that was evoked by the ordinary scent of fog on a warm spring morning or the mulchy perfume of autumn leaves on a frosty dawn or the crisp aroma of an impending snow storm or the heavy, languid air of a summer’s morning fragrant with a lingering bouquet of odors from the night before.

Look how many different words we have for “smell”. Those in the preceding paragraph are just the words for good smells. There are also stinks and stenches and reeks and pongs (like when your partner stuffs your head under the duvet).

Our sense of smell plays such a big part of our daily lives without us even being aware of it. Did you know it helps humans assimilate with nature?  It helps warn us of dangers and sharpens our awareness of other people, places and things. It helps us to respond to those we meet, can influence our mood, how long we stay in a room, who we talk to and who we want to see again.

  • Everyone has his or her own unique odor-identity which is determined by many factors including: our genes, skin type, diet, medicine, mood state and even the weather. No two people have the exact same odor-identity.
  • The average human being is able to recognize approximately 10,000 different odors. It’s possible to train your olfactory sense to a very high degree (I think at least one of my blog readers might be able to speak further on that topic??)
  • Your sense of smell is least acute in the morning; our ability to perceive odors increases as the day wears on. 
  • A woman’s sense of smell is keener than a man’s.

A smell can cause an intense physical reaction, from making you vomit or lose consciousness to bringing you back to consciousness, relieving nausea or headaches. A smell can inspire instant lust or hunger. A smell can attract or repel. What an amazing sense!

No two people smell the same odor the same way. In other words, a rose may smell sweeter to some people than to others. Some of my favourite smells are:

  • Coffee brewing  in the morning (though I can’t stand the taste)
  • A wood-burning fire on a cool autumn day
  • Laundry that’s been drying out in the sun
  • A just-picked, ripe tomato
  • A clean baby
  • The air during and after a thunder storm
  • A charcoal barbeque grilling food (even meat… except pork. The smell of cooking pork makes me gag)
  • Some types of pipe tobacco
  • Fog
  • A forest in the fall
  • The brine of the ocean
  • A whiff of lilacs (bring them in and they start to get cloying after a while)
  • Mulled wine in December
  • An apple orchard in blossom
  • A field of lavendar
  • And, a field of freshly spread, well-aged manure…