MICHELE BLAIS: The scents of summer

summertime fun

Summertime can be smelly, in the nicest of ways. The smell of fresh-mowed grass, the mock orange flowers, sun tan lotion, the barbecue. There are certain scents that we associate with the hot summer days which I am grateful are here.

Smell might be the under-rated sense yet is so important and can provide such pleasure, and save our lives, such as the scent of leaking gas. Well I suppose discomfort as well now with so many people with allergies.

But who is allergic to the smell of barbecue? Hmm, in the evenings walking along the street at dinner time you can just enjoy the waft of barbecue smells drifting along going right to my brain and triggering a desire for some meat! Chicken, fish, veggie burgers, something cooked on a grill soaked with some tantalizing sauce. I have found that my darling’s cooking skills do exist and are great when it comes to outdoor cooking — they are just limited when he walks inside the house. Must be that cooking out in the open that brings out the flipper in a fella.

The other smells I enjoy at this time of year are campfires, the musky smell of the forest, tomatoes on the vine or freshly picked, which really proves to me that smell triggers memories. Our family grew truck loads of tomatoes, and smelling the red fruit picked off the vine just takes me back to pleasant memories of running around barefoot on the farm.

Walking through the grounds of special outdoor events, there are so many smells to enjoy, mostly of food, French fries, cotton candy, more and more exotic smells that I love.

Our family is fortunate to have a cottage on the Westside which I retreat to.  We have a big floating dock that we enjoy sitting on and the other day basking in the feel of the sun on my face, eyes closed I listened with intention, wanting to relax.

I heard children playing gleefully, splashing, sounds of their swimming, arranging their play: you first, the ever wonderful “Mom, watch this.” Quiet voices then a higher pitch, laughing, just enjoying themselves without a care in the world. A kayak paddling by with the steady gentle sound of the paddle dipping in the water. Birds singing, a dog barking, a water pump starting up — these are the sounds of my beach, familiar, and comforting.

Summer is the time when we try to relax more and that may come with a nap in a hammock, a bike ride, kayaking, hiking, camping, enjoying the pipers in the park, concerts at city hall. I love the feeling of bliss at the end of a summer’s day where you have really enjoyed yourself and then can relax into the evening,  having sunlight into the later hours, perhaps a breeze, debriefing the day, relishing the moments.

I lived in southern California for a couple of years and it was a great time with an extended summer and yet I missed our distinct Canadian seasons.  Perhaps this is why we Canadians love summer so much because it is such a gift to feel that hot sun and to get to play longer, have holidays to go visit new places around the corner or miles away, admire the beauty of the plants that thrive and enjoy the bountiful harvest summer nurtures.

This summer we are going to explore a few new places in this great province of ours, check out some new smells and sounds of summer. I want to experience what the tourists come for.

Just like the ad says, its “ours to enjoy.”