I remember sitting in a grade school classroom. The windows were cranked open. Yes, these were the days before permanently sealed windows and air conditioned schools. As the teacher droned on, I became aware of another droning sound.
The noise became louder and nearer. The school custodian had fired up the lawnmower. As he made passes across the grass, the sound of the mower faded, then grew louder, then faded again.
The smell hit me. Cut grass. Summer, and freedom, were not far away.
Since that day, I find the smell of freshly mowed grass absolutely intoxicating. At the first whiff, my head swims with anticipation. Being an adult with a full time job and responsibilities (sigh), the anticipation is no longer of three months of unstructured time. No, it runs more along the lines of freedom from cold weather.
Freedom to go barefoot. Freedom from artificial light as the days stretch long. Sitting outdoors in the evening. Freedom from anemic grocery store produce (if my garden is thriving).
Fresh mowed grass. Flowering bushes. Suntan lotion. Backyard grills.The tarry smell of asphalt so hot it's nearly liquid. Heavily chlorinated outdoor swimming pools. Resiny pine trees aromatic in the summer heat. Trail dust and a sweating horse.
Perhaps because of the heat, summer seems to release a greater variety of odors that are normally encapsulated by cold. Smell is one of the most powerful senses, imprinting indelibly upon our memory. Authors are wise to use descriptions of odors in their work. Have you noticed any particularly great uses of smell in fiction?
Subscribe to this blog: