Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I am blessed with a fine nose and I can tell you that the aromas you purchase to scent your home are not, regardless of their labels, “Woodlands” or “Rain” or even “Autumn Spice.” Right there next to a busy road this morning I smelled a pine so sweet as to compete with the nearby apple tree, which I imagined – but which was actually not (I checked to see) - hung with glistening red candy apples. Maybe today the outdoor scents are heightened because of the gusting winds but every little ways we walk on the road and dirt pathways presents a new bouquet to tickle my nose while I float through those invisible clouds of heaven on earth. At the edge of the path to the beach, cedar wins out, heady, exotic - standing right here next to the asphalt. Not twenty feet along the path I encounter some delicious spice I’ve never smelled before Then water-scent, fresh as dew falling off the salal and winterberry - I’m convinced that I could be led by this to an idyllic freshwater pool though none exists near here at all. In a low spot on the trail is an earthy, moist aroma touched with something more, I don’t know what – the yellow fallen leaves perhaps? But even on hands and knees, face to the ground I cannot source it. I push my head into the bushes along the trail, rub my cheek into tree bark - nothing yields the scent that wafts out and finds me as I walk along, through several different worlds, as far as my nose can tell - a fairy tale bakery, invisible, must account for the vanilla and lighter spice or some secret spa where weary people luxuriate in thick white robes next to gurgling fountains in an aromatherapy room. Walking home, each scent is reconfirmed, none was imagined, all are real and yet I think tomorrow’s walk will not yield the same for it has never been quite like this before – not as piney, or cedar-spicy and there is certainly never candy apple air except when the fair is in town. Almost always as I walk home, I crowd my dog so she is forced to brush against a rosemary or lavender plant. She thoroughly resents it, but later at home, on the floor, I bury my face in her fur and we, both of us, heave a deep-hearted sigh.