Smells vs. scents vs. odors

Scent is a very important sensation.  It jolts our memory, evokes emotions and stimulates our appetite, as well as warning us away from situations that may be hazardous to us, like 0bviously spoiled food, house fires, and skunks.

I enjoy experiencing many different scents: Other peoples’ colognes, freshly-washed laundry hanging on a clothesline or drying in a dryer, baking bread or toasting toast, and even scents that some people may not appreciate as much, like autumn’s first pungent whiff of skunk, combined with the sharp, sweet scent of wind-fallen apples in an orchard. Am I the only one who smells these similarities, or are there really scent elements shared by skunk, bologna and coffee? The Pumpkin says I’m losing my mind whenever I say that skunk has a ‘clean’ smell, and that it reminds me a little bit of bologna.

Of course, I may be a little warped, because bat guano (to me) smells a little bit like someone drank too much cofffee-flavored tequila and sicked it back up. Ack. Moving right along to more pleasant scents…

I also enjoy the smell of gasoline and mothballs, although not together.  (Yeah, I know, ‘How do you get your nose between their tiny little legs?’ Har dee har.) And although I like the SCENT of coffee brewing, I don’t really care much for the taste. Odd, no?

Here’s a nice one, and kind of a puzzling scent: I was on my way home from work a couple nights ago, and for once it was cool enough for me to roll down the windows in my car instead of trying to turn it into a mobile mini-fridge. Since that was our first rain-free day in quite a while, many people were mowing their lawns. Grass was universally tall, so the mowers were working hard and getting hot, and lots of people were making that oddly-appetizing scent of cut-grass-baked-on-the-hot-mower-deck.

Again, is it just me, or does anyone else find that scent really appealing, similar to toasting marshmallows and baking bread? When you’re cutting grass that’s so long the job almost becomes haying instead of mowing, the cuttings build up quickly under the hot mower deck, and the resulting scent is so much more appealing than just ‘freshly-cut lawn.’ I’d love to find out what it is about ordinary lawn that smells so darned edible when it gets sautéed by yard equipment.

One scent I truly miss ever since moving away from the Great Lakes shoreline is the smell of lake water. Nothing else has those same cool, clean-in-a-fishy-way notes like wind coming off the Big Lakes. I also miss the smell of sun-warmed cedar swamps, and the unique smell of sun-warmed skin after being on a boat all day. Olefactorily speaking, I miss Michigan, I guess.

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