Monday, June 04, 2007

Nostalgia in the Grass

This evening I escaped my house (which was hot) and sat outside on the patio, where a fresh little breeze was blowing. Somehow our house retains all the heat and mugginess and cool air doesn't make it inside. So I sat outside breathing in the air, enjoying the idea that this is my last week of work until August.

Then I noticed that my lawn needed mowing. Once I notice something like this I can't relax until the job is done; I dragged out the mower, primed it, and yanked the cord until the machine sputtered to life. The grass was slightly damp--it had rained earlier--and I didn't want to risk grass stains, so I took off my shoes and mowed the lawn in bare feet.

Boy, did that take me back in time! When's the last time you walked in wet grass in bare feet? I felt like I was ten again, and I remembered how wonderful damp grass feels, and how good it smells when you mow it. Better yet, I ran my cutter over a hidden patch of wild onions, which added their own special aroma to my little summer revel.

I once read that of the five senses, smell is the one most linked to memory. I believe this, especially after an experience like today's, when just smelling freshly-cut grass transported me to the days that I frolicked on my parents' lawn, leaping through a sprinkler and then pretending that my towel, which I tucked into my bathing suit, was the train of a beautiful gown. Never mind that my feet were green from the wet grass (as they were today); for that time, I was royalty, and summer lasted forever.

I think I'm a farm girl at heart, because there's just something about the smell of grass, of earth, that makes me happy. It's aromatherapy, and it's free. Give it a try.


Lonnie Cruse said...

Our lawn needs mowing too, and hubby is seriously down in his back, sigh, so looks like I'll be hauling out the mower as well. Sigh, I hate mowing.

Lill said...

Ah, the smell of fresh-cut grass. Lilacs. Lily-of-the-valley. White violets. My daughter and I have been revelling in these smells as a change from the raw, exposed soil smell of mud season. These smells are greener and fresher and come from things that are growing and flowering. The mud season smell speaks of things being buried and what we have to do to get the ground ready to grow things. It's a nice change from the almost propane smell of snow in winter, but mud season smells don't have the good memories attached to them like spring smells do. Thanks for reminding me about how much a part of memory smells are. I guess that's why I usually have incense burning when I'm blogging.

Shine On,

Julia Buckley said...

Lonnie, you have to try the bare feet!

Lill, I'll have to try that incense thing. I need to create happy scents in my indoor environment (the outdoor, as we've noted, takes care of itself).

Regina Harvey said...

Mulch. My kids think I'm crazy but I love the smell in town when every lawn company and corporate campus is spreading fresh bark mulch. I'll drive around with the windows down in the rain just to smell it.

Hey, it's cheaper than one of those spa treatments, right?

Julia Buckley said...

Oh, I agree, Regina! And even if there's a slight hint of manure in fertilizer, I still see it as a fresh smell and therefore somehow healthy to me. Far different from manufactured smells.