Only after I moved to the Eastern Shore, did I retain my very own Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. He said the moldering corn stalks exacerbate the old allergies. And only here do you get accosted inside your car and house by random farming smells. Smells so bad, you yell out, “Oh my, what is that smell?” My son orders, “Roll your window up”, but it’s already  up. Hopefully, in seven minutes, our noses will adjust to the smell.

There are seasonal bad smells like that of fish emulsion on the farm fields which reminds me of stinky sneakers. And there’s the poop smells,  also a fertilizer on some future crop. And then there’s the chicken poop stench from chicken farms. As you drive the back roads, you may be accosted by this horrible smell, and decide you’ll never take this road past these chicken houses again. In my opinion,the only two worse smells are dead potatoes and paper factories.

Bad smells give way to happy smells.  Last week,. I walked out into my backyard and was overwhelmed by the rich smell of fried onions. There is nothing on the river with us except a church and a jail. The church looked empty so I guessed it was lunchtime for the inmates. That smell almost brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. When my husband comes home saying “It smells good”, we joke that it’s always onions and garlic.

And then springtime put on an olfactory show this week. And the smelly symphony of the heady and perfumed tulip tree next-door, plus the jonquils,  and  my head filled with a melodious smell extravaganza that, again, filled me with gratitude.  I love the random smelly moments of life. It’s like getting away with something. Especially since I expect my nose to betray me every year with the allergies. I certainly do enjoy any smell that doesn’t make my eyes itch and my nose tingle and run.

The aroma of a recent rainstorm, my son’s morning breath, June bugs left in a jar in the day’s sun, and someone’s Sunday laundry, are all smells which can, and have, evoke a strong feeling from me. Some smells, like hot coco or coconut suntan oil, you have to seek out to immerse yourself in the nostalgia. But I can not imagine my life without the olfactory addition. I look forward to waking up tomorrow to the smell of coffee. And knowing my husband is downstairs waiting to chat, or not, as my day begins again.

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