The Smell of Plum Trees

When last did you take a really deep breath while walking outside - other than panting up a hill? :) Modern humanity has become a shallow-breathing, stooped-back shell of its former self, fear of allergies and pollution preventing a rush of deep-drawn air into our half-used lungs...

I walk past this tree every day to and from work. It's been the last of the plums to flower, but it's making up for it! Every branch is a mass of white blooms. Usually I just rush past, intent on getting to/from wherever I'm going, puffing up the hill or descending it quickly. This morning I took a deep breath - and caught the whiff of Spring.

Faintly sweet, buzzing with bees, white against green of grass and blue of sky.

Just a whiff.

But have you ever walked past a plum tree in bloom at night? That's when the magnificent smells of Spring flowers really come alive!

Late Friday night we took the dogs for a quick run around the block, and noticed the air hung heavy with fragrance, tantalizing smells that don't show up in the day's heat. Amazing.

Scents and emotions often go hand in hand. I still feel ill when I smell the car fumes that made me horribly morning-sick while pregnant. As does my boss's cologne (I've taken to keeping a can of air-freshener in my desk for when he leaves the office) - a throw-back to a boyfriend's from the same period of time.

The aroma of fresh-cut grass brings images of summer. Just-baked bread conjures up warm, fuzzy feelings of snuggling in with comfort food. Crushed tomato plants, stepped-on snails, the smell of the neighbour's fire-cooked meat - all call up memories, flashing images, still-lifes and yearnings.

Smells and colours sometimes end up in a mixed-oil palette in our heads. What does purple smell like to you - a bunch of grapes still warm from the sun perhaps? And white? Blue? Gold? Are there tastes and sounds mixed in with the feel, the colour and the smell?

How seldom we stop and notice them in the hurry of our lives.

Right now the smells of Spring are all around - or perhaps in your part of the world it's Autumn.

We just have to remember to breathe deeply enough to capture them.