The Scents of Summer


Summer is almost here.  For me, it will be a time of slowing down, but not stopping completely (that’s impossible around here), and catching up on things that never get done during the school year.  Because so much of my life has always revolved around an academic year, instead of the calendar year, summer has been my  traditional restart, not January first.

Like many people, I associate certain smells with specific events and times.  I got a hint of summer’s upcoming arrival a couple of weeks ago, when the scent of honeysuckle drifted through the evening air as I was sitting on my deck.  The smell of honeysuckle has always been one of the first reminders that my life was about to shift into a much-welcomed slower gear.  I can remember smelling it on my elementary school playground and in my backyard when I was a little girl.

There are other summer scents for me as well.  This morning, as I attended the grand opening of a new bike/running/walking trail in my community, there was a distinct smell of sunscreen, another summer smell.  The smell of Coppertone evokes memories of thre brown bottles with yellow lids.  The tropical scented sunscreens remind me of sunbathing when I was a student at Clemson, many years ago (yes, I know about sun damage and skin cancer….I just didn’t heed the warnings back in the day.  Trust me, I heed them now).

Before the long weekend is over, I’ll probably go to the local pool with my kids, where I’ll smell sunscreen and chlorinated pool water. Chlorine is not a good smell, but it does, nonetheless, remind me of the season.  I’m less fond of the smell when I can’t get it out of our swim suits and beach towels.

In a few short weeks, I’ll smell healthier summer scents when I go to the beach.  The smell of the salt air is therapeutic.  I also like the marsh air, which isn’t a good smell to a lot of people, but I’m into the whole coastal ecosystem thing.   

I like the smells of fresh produce,  and the way those scents longer in the car even after I’ve taken the fruits or vegetables into the house.  We are fortunate to have several good farmer’s markets in our area, which supplement the very small garden I plant each year.  I’m also reminded of my childhood trips to the State Farmers Market, which meant an evening of shelling beans or shucking corn.

If we attend a fireworks display, or shoot some fireworks ourselves on the Fourth of July, there’s that burning smell that hangs in the air for a while after the last rounds have been shot.  For some reason, that smell reminds me that summer is passing quickly, and my slow season is limited. The midpoint of summer is here.

I’m glad it’s almost time for my slow season to begin.  Everyone at my house is tired and ready for a change of pace.  That change of pace is probably the reason summer scents stand out so much for me.


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