Friday, January 16, 2009


I went out to gather lemons off of Grammy's tree today. This is my favorite tradition at Grammy's house because it reminds me, in a way that absolutely nothing else does, of my childhood. There's a certain type and time of day that is perfect for lemon-gathering, and today was that day. The sun had just barely sunk behind the trees across the street and darkness was beginning to gather at the edges of the yard. It was hot today, and once the sun had disappeared the dirt, the grass and the cement began to release their smells. Smell, by the way, is caused when the molecules in an object get warm enough that some of them move from a solid to a gaseous state and jump away from the object and enter our sinuses. That's why ice cream typically doesn't have very much of a smell. By the opposite token, though, it seems harder to smell things when it's very hot. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but my guess is this: just like our other senses, our sense of smell only works up to a point. Once it gets over-stimulated (which could happen if it was warm enough outside that too many atoms were finding their way into our noses) we wouldn't be able to smell as well. 


My point with all of this is that when I went out to pick lemons today I was fortunate to do so at the perfect time on a perfect day. Of all the senses, smell is the most emotionally connected to memory, and so picking lemons today made me feel like I was a kid again, with a lifetime left of lemonade and warm days at Grammy and Grandpa's house. 

P.S. My information regarding the cause of smell comes from reading this book. It's one of my favorites. 


cdr said...

I love lemons, just in case you were wondering... *hint hint* :-) so if you're ever in the neighborhood and your grandma has too many on the tree to handle....Well, you know what to do. Kidding...that's a long trip and besides, I can just run around my neighborhood theiving other people's lemons like I did yesterda

nicole said...

I am facinated with aromatic rings (the chemical structure of scents)and how they can be artificially manipulated to recreate almost any smell. I think I just might have to check out your senses book.

Why do I always sound like a geek when I comment on your blog?

haylie said...

I bring out the geek in others, Nicole. And I LOVE it.