Monday, April 21, 2008


As I drove home from my stepfather's birthday party Saturday evening, I drove with the windows down. Saturday was a very warm day and as I drove, I drove through patches of smells. Honeysuckle. Wisteria. And out here in the country, chicken houses. And I realized how much I love the smells of summer.

It's not a new concept that warmth releases smells. Heck, Glade has been making a living on that concept for years. But I just realized the other day how much my sense of smell is tied into summer and how much I love those smells. Sure, I love the smell of a bonfire crackling in the winter, but that's just about the only smell I can think of off the top of my head that I love from colder months.

But summer. Oh. Summer is a different animal entirely.

Hot creosote coating the scorching parking lots of my barefoot youth, along with the coated telephone poles we passed as we made our way to town.

The warm, dark, sandy smell of earth turned for a garden. The sharp, green smell of squash vines, prickly in your hand.

Honeysuckle in the evening, the sweet nectar drops on your tongue -- if the bee didn't get there first.

The dry, musty smell of the canvas of our tent.

The hot, burned oil and grease that lubed the old tractors under my Papa's barn.

The smell of cracked upholstery and the tobacco spittoon of Papa's truck.

The smell of Gain detergent on Grandma's sheets dried in the sun. Tucked in after a long day playing in the creek.

The combined smells of warm cow fur, burlap bags, feed, and manure of the milk barn.

Hawaiian Tropic, no SPF, not in those days, slathered on to catch as many rays as possible. Combined with the deeper smell of the "axle grease" sunscreen applied to our squirming faces and bodies while our feet danced toward the waves.

The salty smell of the ocean at night.

These are the smells of summer. If I concentrate hard enough, I can smell them now. Heaven.


AndreAnna said...

I love summer smells too. However, I do not love this whole being-pregnant-in-heat thing and I know it's just going to get worse. I wish there was a way to enjoy the warm without the hot, the sun without the burn, and the activity without the sweat.
Oh, and no swelling would be nice. It seems my body is now retaining fluid in direct proportion to the temperature outside.

Anonymous said...

You were so right on in your descriptions, I smelled them with you. I also love the smell of freshly cut grass.

Colleen said...

that does sound like heaven. I can't wait!

1blueshi1 said...

I would like to smell a vacation...I haven't seen the ocean since Zac was 2.
When you gonna write some more on the cereal eating smoker mom? I loved that!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

That's how I feel about Spring. I'm so glad it's here!

Laurel said...

I love driving with the windows down, and then if I crank the music a little bit I can almost believe I'm 18 again.

And you know how eons ago I said that if I had to give up one sense it would probably be smell? Well, you just about changed my mind today. Mmm.

ImpostorMom said...

i love the smells as well, not so keen on the ridiculous scorching heat (or the pollen lately) but the smells are indeed heavenly

Fannie Mae said...

Not sure if it's because I'm old, or from the east coast. For me THE smell of summer? Sea and Ski sunscreen!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Weeeellll shiiiiit. My post for tomorrow is about nostalgic scents. However, they aren't in relation so summer.

Karen said...

I agree. We had some warm winter days and I truly missed smells associated with the warmth. Spring is here - and it smells wonderful.

Amanda said...

Smells always take me back. Two that hit me hard are:

- the smell of Welch's grape juice reminds me of my grandma and spending many summer days at their camper by the lake. And

- the smell of engine oil is what my dad always smelled of even after a shower.

It's funny how smells are tied so closely to fond memories, isn't it?