Firstly, here’s a piece of good news about Hawken the Irish Wolfhound: I have been training him with a very long retractable leash, and he almost never strays from heel. If he does, I call him and he comes right over to me.
On the other hand, recently when I was about to walk him, he spotted a rabbit in the back yard, and I have never seen him move so fast. The rabbit got away through a hole in the fence, but the pursuit was amazing.
At first I thought about making this a “top five favorite smells,” clickbait, but as I gave it more thought, I pondered the notion that odor and pleasure come together in different ways for different people. I knew some one once who always introduced sharp flavors, like chocolate or mustard, into sex. I found that I don’t like non-human smells in the middle of sex.
I thought of all this as I was working outside the last few days, where some of the smells were overpowering my pleasure center…
- The grass I just mowed, the marigolds I moved slightly aside to pull up grass, the green from my tomato vines on my finger tips.
- The air at first light in the mountains in the winter with snow on the ground, like getting up early on a ski trip.
- Aviation gasoline; the decades of spilling small amounts make the cockpits of small planes smell the same, and that smell instantly brings me back to my days in the sky.
- The faint, subtle smell of fireplace smoke from the days around the first freeze.
- New cameras – the plastic and Styrofoam and brass and glass. It’s not that the smell itself brings please, so much as it smells like potential.
- Iris, honeysuckle, roses, wildflowers
- In a coffee house last week, they were grinding some blends, and those bold, fresh ground or fresh brewed flavors of coffee set off some very powerful endorphins in my brain.
- My wife Abby’s hair, and her smell in general; since our first days together in 2003 to this very day, she smells like home. I asked her to list some of her favorite smells, and she said, “My husband, my dogs, vanilla, cherry pie.”
I like coffee, movie theater popcorn, vanilla, chocolate, barbecue, good soap, a new book, fresh-cut grass, gasoline (that’s not weird, is it?), and the outdoors, in general. Also, cedar. Not so much: napalm in the morning.
Smells are indeed personal. One of my favorite odors of all time is blooming honeysuckle; my wife can’t stand it.
Libraries. Dauphine’s neck. Tracey’s everything. Everything edible I’m growing. Public schools. Boiled seafood. Skunk. Gymnasia. Vinyl records. Hawaiian tropic SPF 80.