Smell of the Day: Almond Blossom

almond_blossom

Almond Blossom

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: Almond Blossom

The old almond trees are now in full bloom. The weather oscillates between winter and spring: sun, rain and wind alternate rapidly. The almond blossom covers the tree in little white balls and an intoxicating, buttery, honey-like vapour radiates out for metres around. Hundreds of bees visit the blossoms, happily drunk on the sweet nectar. Their buzzing vibrates my eardrums. I want to lie on the grass and look up at the blue skies through the trees, but it’s still too cold. Already the wind and rain are blowing the blossoms off the tree. It snows blossom petals and they will soon be gone, but spring will soon be here.

Smell of the Day: Peach Blossom

Peach blossom

Peach blossom

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: Peach Blossom

It’s late winter, and this year it’s been the kind of long, cold winter that I hope will end soon. Today I went for a walk in the cold, rugged up so much that I could barely move in multiple layers and my knee-length down coat. With wind chill the temperature was a brisk 2º celsius. I know that some parts of the world get much colder, but for a girl raised in sunny South Australia, 2 degrees is a shock to the system. The walk was challenging and cold, yet uplifting and energising. To reward myself at the end of it, I grabbed the secateurs and cut myself three stems of newly opened blossom from the old peach tree.

Peach blossom

Peach blossom

Blossom is so beautiful – leafless stems dotted with clumps of flowers, both in bloom and still in bud – it creates a kind of instant, effortless Ikebana in the vase. I couldn’t resist placing them on top of my piano with my Japanese kokeshi dolls. Blossom reminds me of Japan, of the Hanami cherry blossom festivals held there in spring, and of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints.

Peach blossom

Peach blossom and kokeshis

Peach blossom smells like honey. It’s sweet, almost in a sickly way. The smell is strong and as I sniff the blossom deeply my nose intuitively pulls back, feeling drunk with the pleasure of this overwhelming and narcotic scent, and perhaps anticipating a sneeze. The smell reminds me of sugar syrup bubbling on the stove, waiting to be made into tooth-breaking toffee. If I sniff a little less deeply, I detect a scent a little like that of sweet hay, grassy and dry. Peach blossom reminds me that the bees will soon arrive and harvest the precious, deliriously sweet pollen from this very tree. It makes me happy and reminds me that winter will soon be over. Peach blossom is the promise of spring in a vase.