Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Smell Power

Stumbled across a bit of a gem this evening. Marion Owen, ‘master gardener’, describing the moment she decided to become a gardener at the end of a long passage from Guam to Seattle.

If navigation is about where we are and where we are going, then the senses have a bigger part to play than many realise, and not just physically. Marion’s passage about a passage beautifully illustrates that honing our senses can get us to our destination in more ways than one. She found land and a new career.

Here are some excerpts:

Wall-to-wall ocean, especially in the warm tropics, does something to your senses…

…salt crystals form on the decks and railings–even your skin– like granules of sugar. With the acrid smell of ocean water and sweat, always sweat, mixed with suntan lotion and more salt air, your nose is dulled with monotony…

Leaning against the metal railing like race horses at the starting gate, we peered at the horizon, straining to see land.

I smelled it hours before I saw it. Green. Chlorophyll. Leaves. Land. The round smell was sweet and full.

The smell of land triggered more than tears of joy. It told me that it was time to take a new road in life; to find a new job. Within a year I’d moved to Kodiak Island and followed a compelling urge to learn everything I could about gardening.’