What is it about the smell of earth after a much needed rainfall? If someone could bottle that smell…they would be a billionaire. It is a mixture of purity, cleanliness, freshness…it is the smell of life at its best. The product could be called ‘After the Rain.’
When I was out in the garden yesterday morning (following a full day and night of steady rain Monday) it was like watching the plants, flowers, and trees wake up on freshly cleaned scented sheets to sunlight dappling across the white bed covers in the bedroom.
A smell isn’t just a scent, I’ve come to realize, it is a memory. My favorite cooking smell from mother’s kitchen was her famous chicken and dumplings…I have never eaten lighter dumplings than the ones she made…they melted in your mouth. (Sorry Cracker Barrel…I know you consider your dumplings a “vegetable” and a classic…but they are way too doughy and thick.)
Dumplings should be light and airy. Mother’s secret was making them just like pastries…she would roll the dough out…sprinkle the flour lightly on the cookie sheet and then cut the pastry dough into small thin rectangles. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time and come home from school to smell, to my happy surprise, the warm bubbly aroma of chicken and dumplings slowly savoring (in all the cut-up chicken broth juices with lots of butter) in the big pot on the stove.
…Our olfactory response is directly linked to the emotional center of our brain, causing a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings with a simple sniff. Unlike touch or taste, scents are directly correlated with past experiences. It’s no wonder the smell of rain or the scent of a favorite food takes us back in time.
I read in an article recently that certain scents can help our overall feeling of good health and wellness. As I looked at the list…I realized why being out in the garden makes me feel so happy.
Pines– As you know my back yard and garden is filled with pine trees.
One study shows that a pine scent decreases our anxiety. (In one Japanese study, participants who went on a walk through pine forests reported significantly lower depression and stress levels. The research also discovered that anxious subjects had a greater feeling of relaxation after indulging in the scent.)
Even though I don’t cut my lawn any more…I always scurry out to the garden after it is cut to relish in its newly cut appearance and to smell that wonderful fresh-cut scent.. From this study I now realize why this ritual always leaves me feeling good.
Fresh-cut grass can make you more joyful.
You may think mowing the lawn is an annoying, menial task, but the fresh scent the chore yields may be making you happier. Scent researchers found that a chemical released by a newly-mowed lawn can make people feel joyful and relaxed. The aroma may also prevent mental decline as you grow older.The smell apparently is so powerful that neuro-scientists have come up with an air fragrance that matches it… so lawn-less owners can also reap the benefits of the feel-good scent — no lawn mower required.
(Excerpts taken from article (Huffington Post – 11 Scents that Can Do Wonders for Your Well-Being – Lindsay Holmes)
I love this excerpt from a true story that I have put on the blog a couple of times before…but I relish it each time I remember it. It is an actual true story, researched and verified, unlike so many on-line stories that we find. (*I will provide a link for you to read in its entirety if you would like… but here is a synopsis. )
A little girl is born very premature and doctors give her little or no hope to survive. Long hours, days, weeks, and months are spent by the parents watching the struggling infant fight to live… especially hard since the parents can’t even touch or hold their daughter for all the tubes running through her.
It is a long, arduous road to survival but somehow the child makes it past all the dire predictions of blindness, retardation and paralysis. She is tiny but perfect in every way.
One day when she is about five or six she is sitting with her mother on some bleachers… waiting for her older brother’s baseball game to start…when it happens.
One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent.
Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?” Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.” Danae closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?”
Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet. It smells like rain.”
Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.”
Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children before the rains arrived. Her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of life… when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest, and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.
So until tomorrow…I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a better fragrance to remember God with as we, too, lay our heads on His chest one day. The scent of fresh rain.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
I am off today to keep Eloise for a few hours…she is almost four months now…slow down time…I love having little ones to hold. Between visits from and to family this is the first time I have kept her in several weeks…will have to learn all her new tricks she has picked up at this age.
*Anne and I met at Castillos for an early supper yesterday and to catch up…it has been quite awhile since we have talked and so much has happened in each of our lives.
Anne arrived with a painting (an original watercolor taken from one of our photos from Ireland) and a grin…She said since Tommy and Kaitlyn and the cousins are heading to Ireland next week…she would give me a little memory of Ireland to look at while they were gone…Henrietta the Holstein ….the ‘Leader of the Pack’ of cows that passed right by our car…swishing their tails against my side of the car and through the window. (I had to roll it up)
It was scary but also hilarious….such a fun memory! I hung it in a place of honor…right above the computer so I can get a good chuckle every time I see it and remember my excursion to Ireland in 2014…while part of the family now is making new memories in Dingle.