About halfway through our Big Day Out in the City, I say. “I’m tired of all these smells! I can’t wait to get home and smell nothing.” Of course I know that nature’s smells are something. Within steps of our front door, we get every verdant scent, including a thin green snake on a tire one time. Then there are all the odors of gravel and dirt, grays and browns, and the dew rising from the lawn with a whiff of earthworms. And the air! If only I could bottle it and take it to town! All day long, the trees are breathing down our necks, each one pumping out enough oxygen for four people.
Meanwhile, in the city, people drive around in their cars with a piece of “pine”-scented cardboard dangling over the dashboard. Their clean clothes have been tossed with a bit of paper sprayed with chemicals to imitate flowers or fruit. Clouds of herbal shampoo and zesty soap and minty-fresh toothpaste float around, competing with traffic, cigarettes and fast food smells. The reek of yesterday’s beer drifts from a bar. Moldy wood and plaster sends spores from the charming old buildings out onto the sidewalk, which smells like hot concrete and old gum. My nose is assaulted by a constant din of competing scents, a clatter of asphalt, bricks, coffee shops and metal. Can a nose go deaf? Right then, I almost wish it would!
Later, at an amphitheater, we sit on grass surrounded by a sound wall of cicadas and crickets. Two rows ahead is a lady wearing rose essential oil. I scoot closer so I can smell her better.
Pink crape myrtle trees
scatter scentless petals in
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