Am travelling, and rolled my way at highway speeds through Kentucky horse country yesterday. Even with the window rolled up, at one point a familiar, yet different, smell wafted in the cabin of the car.
Of course. The Bluegrass. Not just the name of vegetation, the name of a place. The smell was fabulously intense. My first impression was newly mown grass, and then I realized how rich it was. Full of chlorophyll and a little bit damp, the kind of saturated cut grass smell that tends to come during a certain period in spring, at least where I live. The best part was the overtone of it drying in the sun. Of course. Hay.
I have always thought of the smell of grass and hay as two different beasts. I know, intellectually, their relationship. But for some reason, driving through this beautiful region, I felt the transition between as well as the stasis of their two different selves. But it was because of this layering, the this and then the that linear processing in my brain.
Emotionally, as I rode through, I was happy in that heart heavy with beauty kind of way. Emotionally/intellectually, as I started to compose this, I was struck with a little bit of awe at the trite but no less profound way experiences both overlap and help define differences in this vast country, in small human interactions, in the big picture.
As I finished writing about the effect of the progression of the smells, I was struck by something else: I wondered if this perfume thing is starting to frame the way I think. I was worried, actually. I don't know why; former experience of course lends a frame to new. I guess it was the thought of it being so reflexive. But no, now that I've voiced it, I'm pretty sure that was a genuine description of a pure experience. I was simply struck by the parallel as I wrote. But still...when you come at something from a different direction and then have that a-ha moment when you thought you are actually somewhere you've been before...weird.
Regardless of how pure or pre-shaped my regards, I know that the smell of the grass was intense. It permeated my nose and for a while pre-empted any fancy thinking and filled me with just the sensation of the smell, and with a state of being. I am not from this place, I do not have a sense of past-life connection to it, I will not necessarily be compelled to return regularly.
But I have BEEN here, and it was wonderful, and I am grateful for knowing it.
Thank you, nose. Thank you, eyes.
Thank you, grass.
image from Rubber Punch