Ronald May

The Myriad Scents In Life

Dear Constant Reader,

Before me, just to my left in fact as I write this sits the book The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Or as I refer to it, the brick to be digested. Man is this book big! 1278 pages big! So I thought that I had better try and express a few creative thought’s before I become wrapped up in this story for the next five day’s or so.

One thing I notice in here is that people rarely smell the same things that I do once we get outside. I notice many different smells at varied times of the year. The seasons provide a unique aroma that is constant year over year. For instance, it always smells of woodsmoke if it is cool and dry or just cold. In Summer it is mostly grass that I smell but there are subtleties within that like manure and exhaust smoke. For Spring and Autumn those are the times you can smell the Harbor best. Usually before it rains as the wind blows up over the hill towards us, it is my most comforting smell out of all of them because I used to walk allot before I came here. Usually at night but I would walk the fifteen or so blocks from my place to Sunset Hill which was not really accurate as it was more like a ridge. Just a tiny city park overlooking Puget Sound.

So you get used to smelling the water and then you end up in an institution like this and you strive to find the things you can appreciate again. The funniest part of all this was when I was very young I really hated the way the Ocean smelled. Seriously! The way the mud smelled when the tide rolled out or the scent of seaweed on rocks baking in the dry sunlight. Yet now, that is one of the things I miss like crazy.

There are many familiar things I can still smell and appreciate. Rain on the wind just before it starts to storm. A grass field drying on a warm morning. Occasionaly the trees around us give off a fantastic woodsy scent but I think I have gotten too used to that one being up in the North West for so long now.

You really do come to appreciate them when you go away for a long enough period. One smell that I really am missing more and more lately is how a Pizzeria smells when you walk in. I am not talking Pizza Hut or any of the chains. I mean, a real Pizza joint with a brick or stone oven in the back and like eight tables. The way a place like that smells is freakin intoxicating and certainly the fondest of my memories.

Even driving by one of the big bread bakeries and smelling the loaves is pretty decent. Or how about the way a Coffee Shop smells when it is busy, you get such a big hit of that crema smell hitting your noise as you walk through the door, nice right? Greasy spoons seem to be on the decline which is a shame but a Denny’s is close. You get all these different things going on at once, bacon, pancakes, eggs, sausage, orange juice and coffee all coming at you at once to the point where it is down right overwhelming but it is still fun.

How about a Fair or Carnival, holy crap there are allot of things to lead your nose. The smell of Candy Apples is the one I remember best as being everywhere at a Fair Ground. Also Cotton Candy and Corn Dogs, the good kind that are actually hand battered, dipped and fried. Exhaust was always in the air too because of the multiple generators but still so many amazing things to remember smelling.

I could go on for quite awhile, like how about the way your car smells on a hot day and the way the same car smells when it is super cold. The way Seattle smells in the Summer verses any other season or how about the inside of a plane, how the hell do almost all planes smell the same?
The scent I will forever love and long for as it slowly disipates from our culture is the smell of multiple magazine racks inside a bookstore. You see, a used book store smells different. It has it’s own unique smell. But a magazine rack with fresh new titles, the way it smells is next to nearly perfect. I got hooked on that smell from Comic Books and moved on to news papers but seriously that is an amazing scent.

Try picking out some smells you take for granted right now. I guaranteethat once they disappear you long for them. Expose youself to new ones too so that your collection grows. Speaking of collecting, I guess it is time to start this book. Till next time.

Ronald May
DOC #359444


Categories: Ronald May

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