Friday, April 12, 2013


D.C. Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms, 2007

Irises in St.Louis -- my parents' house had rows and rows of them.
They smelled like April!

Earth wet by spring rain, new flower shoots
(my yard this morning)

San Diego Zoo Flamingos -- a fishy smelling bird (2009)

Talcum Powder

Comet: a clean but sharp aroma

Minty Mouthwash

Baby smells
Campfire Smoke (and how it stays on your hair and clothing)

I am reading about the history, anthropology, sociology, and physiology of smells and smelling. I have already talked about The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination by Alain Corbin here. I have also read Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell by Constance Classen and  the relevant chapters from A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman.

I have found a wide variety of new ideas in these books, which inspired me to find the images that call up so many aromas from my life. I'm fascinated that some tribal societies love smells like onion and cow dung, while other societies find them gross. I also loved descriptions of the language of smell and the distinctions that reflect very different views of what smells to focus on. For example -- a word that means the odor of fish or milk, because the speakers live in a hot climate where both smells are associated with spoilage.

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

That's pretty fascinating! Lots of those aroma bring back good times for me!