Smelling California

Wasn’t somebody working on a scratch and sniff application a while back? This is a post that needs one …

It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to get out of my urban neighborhood. Not for lack of wanting to, or physically being able to, it’s just, you see, I’m rather stuck. The pod needs work. I need bank. All of my friends who go regularly on road trips have agendas. No tagging along … I’m not complaining, I’m just setting the scene.

This week has been a dog sitting week. Not only has it been a dog sitting week, it’s been a high maintenance dog dog sitting week. Luckily, this sit came with a car so I could haul the high maintenance dog to the high maintenance dog park. Then, in a flash, it occurred to me that we could do more than just go to the fenced in dog park.

We haven’t gone incredibly far. But we’ve gotten out of the neighborhood.

Heading for the water …

Low tide has a strong sea smell, even when it’s in the bay. Seaweed on the exposed rocks, sauteeing in the sun. Salt air blowing in through the Golden Gate straight into my face. Thankfully I brought layers – a long sleeved t-shirt, a wool turtleneck sweater, a hoodie, a big scarf. The wind blew with a force that made me look like I had just spent a wad of cash for a blow out at the salon.

The dog and I walked around the marina and when we got to the bay facing side, we stopped, both of us with our faces to the sun, sniffing the wind, eyes closed, my one hand holding the leash, my free hand on my heart. We stood there for quite a long moment, smelling the sea air pounding our faces. I pulled off my sunglasses and let the sun hit my closed eyelids. I felt the light speaking to me, in code. The water, even though the tide is out, felt like it was washing over me, washing away whatever needs to leave my scene.

I am like a sponge, absorbing the energy that the planet has to give.

Heading for the land …

Heading up into the hills was a late afternoon choice. A pre-dinner hike on one of the canyon trails. It’s amazing how quickly, just over the next hill, that the smell of the land changes. Going from either nothing – because I’m so used to it and it doesn’t smell to me anymore – or maybe it smells of cars, sun on concrete and asphalt, and the occasional jasmine bush – to dust and earth and mud and oak trees and those native plants that smell – like the land of California. Minty? Chamomile?

Every step of the hike into the canyon takes me closer to nature, connects me to the land. The air in the trees is cleaner, and the greens, tans, browns, and even the blue of the sky, are intense.

My body calms. I can feel the stress drop away – and I thought I had no real stress to speak of.

Connecting to Nature …

The other day I saw something fly by on the internet , probably something that someone said on twitter … that “We are all connected. We are nature. If you are feeling disconnected from nature, you are really feeling disconnected from yourself.”

At the time I saw that, it gave me pause. In the big scheme of things this is certainly true – we are nature. We are made up of the same stuff. But this week has proven to me that if I take myself out of the trees and off the land, if I disconnect my self from the earth, from the planet, I am withering. It may not seem like it on the surface. But my trips in nature this week rejuvenated me in a way that made me aware of this.

Do you have a smell that you associate with the nature around you, one that when you smell it feels like it is going into every cell of your being, centering you, healing you?

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