Saturday, April 10, 2010

American Smellscapes: Springtime in the South

Danny Heitman, a columnist for the Baton Rouge Advocate, describes the seasonal change of smellscape down in Louisiana:

The fragrance of winter is mostly an indoor phenomenon — the scent of cinnamon and holly, Christmas trees and skin balm, gumbo and cough drops.
Then come the outdoor scents that bring “the promise of a greening landscape.”
Like the smell created by the curious mixture of newly mown grass and mower fumes.

Or the astringent odor of chlorinated swimming pools.

Or the banana scent of magnolia fuscata coming into bloom.

And what about the oddly synthetic odor of new beach balls?
[Indeed. That smell you get when you nose is pressed into a new floaty toy, and the way it changes when the sun heats it up; how many pools, lakes and beaches does that take you back to?]

Then there’s this one:
I’m talking about the smell of manure, an odor seldom celebrated by those who practice aromatherapy or make designer cologne.
[Heh. My grandfather’s favorite phrase when driving past a diary farm: “Breathe deep—it’s good for you.”]


BitterGrace said...

Hey, manure smells great after it's been baked in the sun a while. The fresh product, not so much.

That column reminds me of Olfacta's NOLA post. Maybe Danny should drive to New Orleans...

Avery Gilbert said...


I think it depends on the animal. Fresh horse manure--what's not to like? Ditto cow pie. The big cat house at the zoo, well that's a different story.

~x~ said...

my dad made us roll down the windows and inhale the skunk stank.
count yourself lucky.
we lived across from hundreds of cows.
holy crap.