Smell of The Day is about noticing and appreciating the smells around me. Just one smell. It might be a perfume, a fragrant flower, the odour of something cooking, an unpleasant smell. All smells are equal. All smells are interesting. All smells affect us. Smell of The Day posts will feature one smell that made an impact on me that day.
Smell of The Day: Wood Smoke
Yesterday we came home to the country after a few days in the city. The house was cold and still smelt of wood smoke from the last fire we lit. It smelt like a smokehouse. Like sausage, and Istrian bacon. Savoury, yummy. Pleasant. Like Naomi Goodsir’s perfume Bois d’Ascese. Slightly tarry, slightly acrid. I set about lighting a new fire to warm the chilly house. Smoke poured out almost straight away, stoppable only for brief moments. I added more wood, more pine cones. It settled, then spewed forth again only moments later. Choking smoke. Eye-hurting smoke. Unstoppable smoke. After struggling to control the fire for a couple of hours — human-against-nature — out came the dust masks and a bucket of water, thrown into the fireplace. Sizzle and whoosh! A house-load of smoke, worse than before. Smoking logs got carried outside carefully and extinguished. Doors and windows were opened, cold air allowed in. We were colder than cold, but we chose air over warmth. Clean air over asphyxiation. Everywhere, the smell of smoke. Associated with danger now, not sausages. Not perfume. Associated with feeling cold. Not comfort. The next morning, the smell of smoke has impregnated itself everywhere, in the furniture, in our clothes. A fine layer of ash waits to be dusted, vacuumed up. I hug my partner and inhale wood smoke from his jacket: the smell of smoke is once again associated with warmth, with the strength of my partner’s arms, with love, with memories of last night. And smallgoods. I like the smell of smoke again, this morning. It’s not overpowering anymore. It’s not trying to choke me. It makes me want to eat bacon.