Monday, October 19, 2009

Common Smells

Had to turn on the heat last week.  It dropped below 40 degrees at night multiple days.  Couldn't postpone the inevitable.

There is nothing more melancholic for me than the first whiff of gas forced heat.

Why?  I'm not sure.  I love all the seasons.  I love to wear sweaters.  I welcome the opportunity to sip warm drinks from a mug.  I love being able to have a fire in the house (in the fireplace, as opposed to outside, in the fire pit, which I also love).  I enjoy indoor activities...more games, more drawing, more movies.

Every year that heat kicks in, though...

Layers of dust.  Layers of history.  It's like I run through a survey of all the eras of new heat.  Every house, every state of my being.  I even remember how in some of my many houses the smell could be more metallic, or have a hint of damp, or suggest old wood, or carry up the smell of the basement.  But always vaguely dusty, and vaguely...old.  Like there was air that had been waiting all year, doing nothing, and now was being released.

The house was exhaling. Into itself.

I guess that's why I insist on cracking some windows within 24 hours of the first heat up.  Need to take a full breath.  And, as anyone who plays a wind instrument, or has taken yoga, knows, the quality of the exhale is just as important as the quality of the inhale.

Mustn't forget that moment between breaths.  Be aware.

Then let it out.  And start again.

photo from Flickr, by Moiht


Mals86 said...

Lovely post.

I like that burnt-dust smell; I've always found it cosy because it meant that Someone was looking after me and making sure I was warm.

Balenciaga Rumba smells a bit like that burnt dust, once the dried fruit and big florals have settled down.

ScentScelf said...

Oh, that's such a nice association with that smell. :)

I have not had a chance to sample Rumba, though I have certainly read some takes on it. Your mention of a burnt dust element makes it all the more interesting.

The Left Coast Nose said...

I lived on the East Coast for a few years, so I totally remember that smell, but I haven't thought of it for a long time-- thank you for the memory! (In San Francisco, we have the heat on year round.)

@Mals86-- that's so funny you mention Balenciaga "Rumba"-- (which I haven't tried yet.) When I was reading, I was thinking of the way the dusty dry twigs of Balenciaga "La Fuite des Heures" dry out your nose.

Rita @ LeftCoastNose

ScentScelf said...

Hi, Rita/Left Coast Nose...

You are absolutely welcome, of course! It's one of the smells that never leaves the brain archive, isn't it? Forgotten, perhaps, but not gone.

That's a double "welcome"...nice to see you here. :)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

So true and such a great reminder. I have been taking some deep breaths this week to center myself and tonight I am taking a sunset yoga flow class in your honor! xo

ScentScelf said...

Those deep breaths are so useful, aren't they? Enjoy your class!