Now we’re fully into spring. Well, some might suggest we’re already dead in the middle of summer. But mid-May is definitely still technically spring, and it’s the smells of the season that dominate the conversation this Monday morning.
Take a walk in the Ansonborough section of downtown Charleston and the Confederate jasmine that drips over iron gates might just push your smell-o-meter into overload. It’s intoxicating! Roll the window down during an evening drive on River Road on Johns Island and be overcome with the sweet scent of honeysuckle.
These are just a couple of the smells of spring that make living in the Lowcountry both a delight and a built-in income provider for allergists.
Do you have favorite smells this time of year? It might be something as simple as fresh-cut grass. There are magnolia trees that offer far greater pleasure than any department store perfume counter can hope to duplicate. Even rain has a smell, both before it arrives and then after it dampens the dirt.
Area gardens bloom every spring with roses, camellias and lilacs. Sometimes, a field of dandelions reveals a blanket of yellow that forces the eyes to squint to take it all in.
At the various farmer’s markets, different smells waft all around the vendors and patrons. Boiled peanuts or lightly salted pretzels are just as likely to tempt your taste buds as will fresh shrimp or a jar of pickles.
As much as the shapes of our noses are different, so are the smells that entice or repulse. Usually, by the end of May, we’re more interested in the smell of grilling hot dogs from a neighbor’s backyard than the fragrant hint of wisteria that might hang near the same neighbor’s fence. Again, don’t rush the moment. The smells of summer will be here for a solid four months. Yes, September is still very much summer here.
So, in the days of spring we still have remaining, look for those opportunities to smell your way around the Lowcountry.
In North Charleston, an early evening walk around Park Circle alerts the nose to popcorn from concession stands at the nearby ball fields.
In Summerville, the tall pines sway back and forth to the rhythm of a back porch hammock.
On Wadmalaw Island, rich dirt has a smell that’s produced strawberries and tomatoes from that fertile ground for centuries.
In McClellanville, shrimp trawlers journey up Jeremy Creek delivering fresh seafood that offers its own distinctive and inviting aromas.
On Sullivan’s Island, a walk along the harbor’s edge elicits a slight salt spray. You don’t have to look very hard or very far to find your own spring smells. It might be the egg salad sandwiches for a church supper? Could it be a citronella candle on a backyard patio?
Our senses are bombarded both with real and contrived concoctions. There’s an entire industry that is built on creating or eliminating odors. The stuff we remember, though, seems to be things that occur each year and trigger fond memories.
The only reason for not finding something that appeals to you is that you’re not looking … or smelling.
I’m just sayin’ …