Yesterday The Washington Post showcased, in a photo essay of sorts on the front page, how various cultures around the world celebrated the summer solstice. Twenty thousand revelers watched the sun rise at Stonehenge, a man in Tel Aviv ran in 94-degree heat as the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea, throngs of yogis saluted the sun in Times Square and, in Tiwanaku, Bolivia, an Andean religious leader made a spiritual offering over a fire in celebration of the Aymara new year.
I made pesto.
And today I awoke to the lingering aroma of fresh basil, one of the signature smells of summer.
A few weeks ago we talked about the sounds of summer. Now that it’s officially summer, smells are what really get me going. If your olfactory sense is as keen as mine—even if it isn’t—the faintest of smells can take you on the most vivid of journeys, to a certain time or place. Am I right?
The first batch of pesto scraped out of my Cuisinart kicks off the season.
What else? For me, it’s the smell of a lime Popsicle, honeysuckle, Sea and Ski suntan lotion and ripe strawberries. Maybe a fresh peach. Definitely a charcoal grill.
I don’t know if they even make Sea and Ski anymore, but I can tell you one whiff and I’d be on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, around 1965, guzzling my Aunt Mary Lee’s lemonade. Last week a friend gave me a scented candle that smells just like Coppertone Tanning Butter and that took me to a neighborhood swimming pool in 1971. I don’t think Coppertone even makes tanning butter anymore. It used to come in a yellowish jar with a brown lid.
Today where I live it’s supposed to be 98 degrees with 90 percent humidity. While I am out buying lime Popsicles, maybe you can tell me what does it for you—what smells signify summer? Do they take you anywhere?