Following the Scent Trail

The honeysuckle is blooming.

I walk home after work and come through the garden. I smell it before I see it–citrus-y, flower-y, like nothing else in this world. Strong, heady, a flow of heavenly scent. I can imagine it as a moving trail, a colored ribbon of semi-translucent yellow and amber (that’s my synaesthesia acting up).

Earlier today we were talking about smells, as a group of us went through a quick chainsaw training session. Katie stated that she likes a whiff of saw gas and exhaust and sawdust. Indeed. It’s the smell of fieldwork. Smell is the most primal of senses, hitting the brain and evoking powerful feelings and memories. Fieldwork smells like pitch and dust and horses and sweat. The smell of a forest fire stirs my adrenaline. There are subtler smells in the forest: blooming vanilla leaf. Fir needles masticated by thousands of caterpillars in the tree tops. Elk pee. All these ribbons of scent weave together, entwining the summer days.

Hiking along today, I was thinking of how a dog’s sense of smell is 200 times keener than human’s. How is that for them? Some smells must feel like they’re being shouted out loud. Humidity in the air affects scents. Moisture brings up the scent, which is why dogs love sniffing on dewy mornings.

The air has been muggy and damp these past few days, intensifying the honeysuckle. It fills the garden and house and the olfactory part of my brain is positively lit up. Wow.

What scent trails are you following?

One thought on “Following the Scent Trail

  1. On some dog walks not that long ago there was something quite fragrant in the woods and I didn’t manage to place it. I kept looking around for flowers and couldn’t find any. I leaned in to smell some green things on a tree, but wasn’t sure if that was the source or whether the fragrance was just so present in the air that they seemed to be the source.


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