The scent of summer …

Last Thursday morning when I returned home, from the market, they were mowing our front lawn. Yes, even though I live right in the heart of the city, in an grass clippingsapartment, we’re lucky enough to have lots of green, with both a large front and back garden. No concrete jungle here. We’re surrounded by lots of beautiful old homes, on gorgeous tree-lined streets.

Anyway, I LOVE the smell of freshly mowed grass. Always have, even when I was a child. It’s especially fragrant after it’s rained. No rain the other day.

But the scent was still so intoxicating I just had to stop in the middle of the driveway and inhale several times, breathing it all in, before making my way indoors. If I hadn’t been afraid the gardener would think I was completely out of my mind, I would have scooped up a handful and brought it upstairs with me.

Then I could have sat on my balcony, watching the world go by, sniffing away to my heart’s content.

In that instant I knew summer was well and truly here. Because to me, nothing says “summer” like the scent of just cut grass. Well that’s not quite true. This morning, as I made my way from my bedroom to the kitchen I seemed to walk right into a

wall of gorgeously fragrant ripening nectarines and peaches. I’ve been waiting for this moment for several days, watching them sit there, on my counter.

Oh, it was glorious!

It stopped me dead in my tracks. And before I knew it, I was picking them up, one by one, holding them to my nose, literally drinking their scent in. My mouth started to water immediately. Of course I had to have one! Mmmm. I can still taste it. Damn, it was good. Juice dripping down my fingers and chin. With flesh so soft and delicate I barely had to chew.

Yes. It’s definitely summer.

Fresh dill does it to me, too. Even when I buy it in the dead of winter, I can close my eyes, sniff and think it’s summer. It’s such a clean, fresh, refreshing scent. And I also love how it looks. So pretty, sometimes I think it would be nice planted in a hanging pot.  It’s so good chopped, or even just snipped, and tossed on boiled potatoes or sliced cucumbers or fish or in lobster salad. My mother used to put some in her chicken soup. Now that I think about it, dill does resemble grass.

My senses are in total over-drive at the moment.

Which makes me think how fortunate I am. I worked with a woman, years ago, who lost her sense of smell after chemo. I’ll never forget her telling me the thing she missed the most was not being able to smell when a cantaloup was ripe. I empathized with her, at the time, but I can really relate to what she was saying now. We take so many things for granted.

Don’t know about you, but with me, one thought tends to lead to another, quite-different-yet-still-sort-of-related-thought. Makes it difficult for people to follow me, sometimes. Apologies if you’re one of them.

So all this talk about summer has made me think of seasons. Well, not seasons so much as my reaction to them. You see, I’ve detested winter my whole life. Yes, my whole life. Even when I was a kid. Even when I loved ice skating and skied. At six and seven years old I was telling my parents we should move somewhere hot. Where it was summer all year round. Where I could swim every day.

The older I got, the worse it became. So I dreaded Fall, because I knew winter would be right behind it. Which is a real shame because September and October are beautiful. What a magnificent sight it is when the leaves on all the trees start to turn gold and red and orange and rust. The evenings may be a bit crisper, but you can still get warm, sunny days — without the humidity which so characterizes summer in Toronto. Admittedly I did look forward to Spring, but would always grow impatient waiting for the bare branches to start to bud and for the tulips and daffodils to poke their heads out of the still-hard ground. It was too barren for too long for my liking.

Until I stood in our driveway the other morning, drinking in the smell of that grass!

That’s when I realized how nice it is to have different seasons. To be able to look forward to the changes. To feel the chill start to leave the winter air and the snow begin to melt. To hear birds chirping, after what seems like such a long silence. To look up and see little bits of green sprouting from the bare branches of trees. For it to be warm enough to go out just wearing sandals, finally able to wiggle your toes, free from the confines of socks and boots. To savour a bowl of hearty, home made soup on a brisk day. To smell wood burning in fireplaces, especially when it’s birch; and to hear it crackling.

And yes, even to look out your window, late at night, admiring the freshly-fallen snow, shimmering as if there were thousands of tiny sequins on the ground.

All this because the gardener was here. WOW!

14 thoughts on “The scent of summer …

  1. Toronto’s green space is a marvel. What a nice treat for you to have so much lawn and someone else to cut it. Hope those delicious peaches and nectarines were Ontario-grown!

    • Yes they are Ontario-grown. So gooood! I can’t get enough of them. And you’re right. I never thought about how lucky I am to not have to cut the grass myself — or water it! Grateful.

    • You’re probably right, although Spring is becoming more and more of a non-event here. Longer winters and then right into summer. When I was a kid we had a few months of Spring, which was really nice.

  2. I need a LOVE button for this one! I’m also buying 2 tickets to Uruguay. We leave in November, after the chill sets in, as spring sets in way down south.

    “My senses are in total over-drive at the moment.” YES.

    Remember this during February haha

    • HAHA! Yes, I MUST remember this one in February. But who knows? Maybe we’ll still be in Uruguay:). Glad you LOVE this one :). THANKS!!!

  3. I love the scents of the seasons, though I still do not appreciate almost anything about cold winters, which is part of why I live in Hawaii! I have one stalk of tuberose right now, that brings me such pleasure when I walk in the room where it sits. i also love the smell of cut grass – it brings me back to childhood summer days, newness and freedom..
    It sounds like you live in a wonderful area – how lucky to be in the city and have grass too!

    • Yes, I know I am lucky. It is unusual to find an apartment building, downtown, in what really is a residential neighbourhood full of homes with big, old trees and gardens. And, the most magnificent view of the city skyline, from my balcony. At night it’s as if I’m staring right into a jewel box filled with gems of all kinds. But to live in your paradise, where flowers bloom all year, the ocean beckons at all times and the colours are so rich and deep they look like they’ve been re-touched … well … you’re are definitely fortunate. I don’t think I’d have a very hard time exchanging seasons for that 🙂

  4. There’s nothing quite like the scent of fresh-cut grass that very first time after the snow has gone away. 🙂

  5. It’s often the sense of smell that brings a scene alive in fiction, so you’re right, it’s a powerful sense that would be a devastating loss. Just today (Friday), I was mowing the lawn and thinking about the wonderful smell of fresh-cut grass, and how the sound of a lawnmower and intoxicating grassy fragrance symbolize this wonderful season.

  6. Smell of cut grass and a sprig of peppermint in my ice tea. I agree—summer is next to heaven.
    But yes, little by little, the days are now getting shorter again and we are slowly sliding towards fall and the cold of winter. I lived in Hawaii for 11 years and summer never slid away from me. Not once. Sigh.

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