Monday, March 05, 2007


Do You Smell What I Smell?

I live in the middle of a rainforest.

Until I learned that this area was classified as a rainforest, I always thought that term referred to tropical rainforests, with brightly-coloured birds and poisonous snakes and strange animals I'd never seen.

But yes, we're in a rainforest. And I can't begin to explain how much I love it. The smells and the sounds, the gentle damp. The rain that starts flirting with us around the end of September, tweaks our noses in October and then settles in for the long haul around the beginning of November and rides us hard well into May.

It's raining now, again, yet again. There are a lot of areas around here that are on flood watch because of the rain but you know, if you choose to build or farm on a flood plain, well, that's going to happen from time to time.

I don't have the same opinion as some outspoken folks in the newspaper, that if someone chooses to live or farm or a flood plain they should just suck it up and take the losses if the dykes break. Um. Dikes. Heh, nevermind.

That's where our food comes from. If nobody was farming that gorgeous rich soil on the flood plains then we'd all be eating Kraft Dinner five nights a week and I don't mind paying for reinforcing the dikes and dredging the gravel out of the rivers and all. We live in a land of plenty and I think it's the responsibility of all of us here to contribute to keeping that safe.

But that's neither here nor there. I just wanted to share how magnificent it smells around here.

I was just outside and, because I have a stupid nose (I can tell you what's in your freezer by the smell of your ice cubes in my drink, and I can identify the cologne of someone in the car across the street without trying. I can even tell you sometimes if the guy in the car ahead of us is drunk) I could smell the coyote who lives in our woods. He smells a little like a wet dog. I've only seen him once; he was at the end of my driveway and he looked at me, I looked at him, and neither of us wanted to get any closer. Somehow we knew we just wouldn't be friends. He slunk away into the bushes.

The rich smell of the trees (we have many different types around here) was almost overwhelming. The particulate matter has been all beaten down by the rain and you can smell what everything REALLY smells like. The smell of the rust on the wrought iron railings beside my front stairs was something I wanted to bottle. My beautiful unkempt tree out front with all of the dripping catkins, the front lawn, even the smell of my trailer-trash decomposing fence and the mud and all. Oh, I just wanted to roll in it. (but, you know, with the non-working dryer that wasn't such a good idea so I jettisoned it immediately).

I can't imagine living anywhere else. Living in a city again would hurt me. We're 20 minutes' drive from downtown Vancouver, but this is as wild as you can get and still have a high-speed internet connection.

Life may take me elsewhere; I've lived in a lot of places. I may not always have access to this beauty. But I'll carry it with me always, and be so grateful that I've had the opportunity to live in this beautiful, gentle rich dampness.

Let it rain. Let it rain. Let it rain, on me. (with thanks to Amanda Marshall)

Aaaaahhhhh! (breathing deeply) That was just Lovely. We've got at least a month before we get that wonderful damp smell of Spring here in the Midwest.
These days, we prefer the phrase "women in comfortable shoes." [With apologies to Good Morning, Vietnam.]
Dude. Makes me want to cry. I've always known that I am sadly, woefully, a displaced rain forest soul. My brother lives in the Great Pacific NorthWest, moved there decades ago, I lived there for a very brief period of time and loved it with a passion....alas, someone needs to take care of our mother, that be me, and she's not wanting to move anywhere.
Thank you so very much, brought back so many memories.
OMG, you're being all poetic and happy and it's freaking me right out.
And making me want to move into your barn.
(And there's a difference between putting a farm in the fertile floodplain and building a development of multi-million dollar houses and expecting the government to replace your big screen when Mother Nature kicks your ass, IMHO.)
Such a nice piece of writing, I'm jealous. A highly refined olfactory sense is a sign of high intelligence. Usually.

Beautiful! Brought back memories of my trip to the rainforest in Oregon.
(I'm a new reader - what a great first post to come across)
I'm with you about the rain. I'm a transplant from the prairies. Alas, I have to live in your close city for now, but the smell of this city (at least right now) is this...cedar and moss and seaweed and coffee and most importantly, the rain itself. Give me rain. Nothing ever makes me feel so peaceful.
What a lovely post. I would argue, however, that you have a SMART nose.
I've lived in the fens (in the UK) for most of my life, and the place and road names around there always spelt it dyke.

I don't mind rain. It's wind I really don't like.
*breathes deep*

I only smell my MIL's second-hand smoke.

I think my nose busted a long time ago, anyway. It's not working as well as it used to. Not as consistently, at any rate. If there's anything you can do to preserve the function of your olfactory, I don't know what it is.
Wow. Thanks for the couple of minutes out of the snow and into the rain.
HOmesick. Very. Please to send some fish 'n chips from White Spot. Sigh.
That's pretty cool. I always thought to be in a rain forest, one would be somewhere in South America. I should have paid more attention in school. I wouldn't want to be one of your kids, they won't be getting away with ANYthing! (Lucky mom you)
Rain is wonderful stuff. And I am insanely jealous that you live in a rain forest. Pictures, please!
we should introduce our noses to each other. i drive my husband nuts, because i can tell you what spices/herbs someone has used in a dish, what meat, what veggies, and any extra condiments like mustard or such.

i've been places like that, with the damp & the rain. it's wonderful
Hey, are you okay?
I know what you mean -- I live on a tidal creek, and when the tide is really low and it's warm, you can smell the salt marsh... and then night before last, we heard spring peepers too, which is a welcome sound!
What a lovely return visit; your descriptive piece took me back to several vacations we've enjoyed in Washington. Thanks.

I have a nose like yours; sometimes a gift more often a curse!
Wow! That was almost orgasmic ;). If you're not already sick of the "bandwagon banter", let me jump on by saying, I, too, love the rich smell of wet trees ;), and your description of it was almost aromatic.
I'm a prairie girl in love with the ocean married to a rainforest man who wouldn't care if the sun never shined. I'm going to show him this and make him breathe deep. Surely the energy of burgeoning life will travel right through the computer to lift our frozen, ice encrusted, prairie lives into spring.
Beautifully evocative writing, tinged with a little sadness.

i'm running a little late getting your package into the mail. Please be patient. It'll be worth it !

Your Favorite Color Swap pal.
Oh, I hear you. I'm over on Vancouver Island and it smelled so lovely yesterday. I was out kayaking and the air was filled with everything wonderful about this coast.
*sigh* Now I miss the trees... I lived in Humboldt for a couple of years, and the rain and the redwoods were wonderful.
Mmmmm, even your description is evocative and relaxing... I enjoy you your nose. =)
A nose as sensitive as that is a blessing and a curse, I know. Around here, everything is frozen so hard there's nothing much to smell outdoors but exhaust and wood smoke (= ( What I hate about winter is not being able to air out the stale house smells of human and dog habitation without crystallizing the canned goods and freezing the pipes.
Oh it is such a joy to be able to walk out in such smells. It reminded me of camping trips in the Mt Hood National Forest and walking on my sister's acreage on the coast outside Astoria. Thanks for sharing.
You make such rains sound good.
Excellent nose - you could make mint in the smelling field- did you know that?
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