Saturday, 23 June 2012

They say smells are the most evocative of the senses.  A scent can transport someone quicker than a sound. I don't know about that, having never measured the speed of sensual transport. But I do know that a certain type of scent transports me completely.  It weaves into the fabric of the day, and tints it, washes over it and transforms the ache and feel of it. Totally.

When the weather tiptoes on the edges of a warm summer haze and impending rain.  Do you know what kind of day I'm talking about? I can't describe it any better than that. The breeze whispers through the trees, a constant sssshhhhhhhh.  A bird calls, punctuating the silence with an exclamation point. A dove weaves in its occasional, hypnotic melody. In my Grandmother's house, sitting on the verandah, when such a day is turning into dusk, a butler would come upstairs with an evening snack and light the evening lamps and they'd flicker across the faded green of the painted wicker sofa. An owlet would screech in the tree on the front of the lawn (now dead, but standing still, to provide a home for a later generation of the same owlet's family). A mosquito coil would add the slightest hint of smokiness to the scent of the air. I'm sitting next to my grandmother, and she's wearing Eau de Cologne and a silk shirt.  
And bam! That's the scent.  
That mix.  I can't remember them as a collection of individual smells. They're one, overwhelming sensation, and they feel like beauty and love and warmth and poetry and magic and a little bit of sadness.  And that was my Grandmother.

So when I feel that sensation again, when the air is dancing on the edge of rain after a warm summers day, and the light is magical and the birds are piercing the silence, and the air smells of summer tinged with smoke, I think of her, and I see those evenings in the back of my mind, and I feel their beauty and their magic, and her sadness, all rolled into one.

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