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landscape by smell

I wouldn't want to be blind--for a million reasons--but I do love knowing a place in other ways. Like feeling patterns of warmth and coolth in the air as you walk, or hearing layers of sound. And, smelling different smells. I love the different wildflower and plant smells, of course, but also things like the smell of hot road when the first raindrops fall on it, or the smell of other people's grills, and then there are the less pleasant smells too.

Today on my way home from picking up a butternut squash and some leeks, I was arrested by a smell, the way you might be arrested by birdsong. It was a smell I love, the winey smell of ripe grapes. This morning I picked lots of the tiny wild grapes, but this was the smell of the big Concord grapes. So I stopped in my tracks and looked until I could see the grape vines and their treasures (path barred by poison ivy and rosa multiflora).

White turtlehead is starting to bloom meanwhile, and also the groundnut (Apios americana) with its amazing chocolatey flowers (and edible tubers, if they weren't impossible to find, and located hard-to-dig soil amid poison ivy--but now I find that the pods are edible too, so maybe I coudl try them instead), and the wild cucumber (not edible). Some google pics under the cut; maybe I'll take some pictures tomorrow... I know I want to take a picture of the tiny wild grapes.

groundnut flowers and vine

white turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
beautiful post, beautiful pictures. Nice to see someone revelling in the senses..I do that too.
Sep. 1st, 2006 08:35 am (UTC)
Hmm.. must post coriander pics soon. It's growing beautifully.
Sep. 1st, 2006 08:40 am (UTC)
Your coriander is growing beautifully? ***jealousy!!!*** mine never did. Okay then--what was the secret? How did you go from pathetic-won't-grow to beautiful and flourishing!
Sep. 1st, 2006 09:30 am (UTC)
I love the way you know all this stuff about nature!! It's so cool.
Sep. 1st, 2006 12:48 pm (UTC)
The wild cucumber is so dainty and pretty! I love lacy looking flowers.

Also, a quite irrelevant tidbit about the blind:

My friend's ex-husband went blind, and she said that he had the most trouble with snow because it muffled sounds outside. Something I never would've thought, but last winter I payed attention, and it's surprisingly noticeable!
Sep. 1st, 2006 12:49 pm (UTC)
You're so right -- sometimes I run with my eyes closed (short straight bits, of course) just to "see" it all better. It's one of the pleasures of bicycling too, a bit like the variations in temperature you feel biking along in the early morning or late evening. When you were inhaling grapeness, I was being treated to the heady whiff of the large and *early* crabapples on campus that, nearly all fallen now, are somewhere between overripe and fermented. Heading back to my car yesterday in the gloom it was, as you say, arresting: like the aftermath of a party, sweet and sour and alcoholic. And squelchy underfoot.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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