Friday, July 2, 2010

The Smell of Summer

There is a town in north Ontario,
With dreams, comfort, memory to spare
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.1

Today was perfect. The kind of warm, sunny day that seems like a gift in Toronto - clear blue sky, no humidity. A perfect day to sit by the pool with a book, walk the dog down in the green grass between Old Fort York and the railway tracks or get some beer and something to BBQ tonight.

I got to thinking about summer and what I would put into a bottle of my perfect scent-of-summer perfume.

It would have to be focused around the smells of northern Ontario of my childhood. The head, heart and base would all revolve around a note of cool, deep green water with sunlight sparkling on top.

The head would include green foliage and the smell of the little orange jewelweed flowers that grow down by a creek. There would be the tang and creaminess of orangecicles and the wood of their dry, licked sticks.

The heart would be the smell of hot grass and clover, and tall queen anne's lace. Add in a touch of dust from the shoulder of a back-country road and some of the orange day lilies growing in the ditch beside it. There would also be a note of wild raspberry and the leaves of the twisted canes that grow beside the road. I can't forget to add the smell of a cedar dock, warmed by the sun but with damp patches shaped like your back. Notes of warm golden skin weave throughout.

As the drydown begins you would smell notes of sticky pine sap on bark, and dry pine needles. There would be a sense of airy space dappled by sunlight slanting low through tall quiet columns of light and shade like a hushed outdoor catherdral. At the base darkness falls and out comes moss and darker woods with a touch of wood smoke. The perfume ends with more of that minerally lake water from a late-night skinny dip.

Is it out there? Can someone make it for me?

1 Neil Young, Helpless

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