It hit me this morning, when walking out of my house to take the kids to school. The aroma of blooming lilacs. So strong, like a punch to my senses--it is an immediate gentle, sweet, warm reminder of the day I was introduced to and fell in love with Mother Earth.
I was 19, wandering downtown Portland, Oregon, listening to Maroon 5 on my portable CD player (remember those?!), feeling pretty assured that life wasn’t going to get much more rad than how I felt pounding the warm April pavement that day. And then boom--I was hit with this insanely captivating, clean smell I had never realized was a part of the same world I was tromping in. I stopped, turned around and walked up to the flower cart that was holding a space for these magical creatures. “Lilacs” the vendor told me, they were called lilacs. I spent my last $20 on a bundle of them and headed back to my apartment, forgetting entirely to turn my music back on.
It was that spring day in Portland that the world opened up to me. Even though I played soccer on grass, grew up with a beautiful yard and spent most of my childhood summers on lakes and in the forests, I had literally no clue that there was this world, beyond the hustle and bustle, that was so alive. This new world invited me to slow down and start smelling more flowers, seeing more leaves, touching more bark and dirt and blades of grass. It encouraged me to slow my over-active mind and body to feel more beauty and surrender to a world that was far bigger than I (a lesson all humans tall and small should learn).
This moment, invited me to read my first book on homesteading and goat farming. This smell pushed me to dream about and eventually jump into growing food. It was this introduction that created a platform to consume as much knowledge as I could of both the biological and social sciences that connect me to the growing process.
Now, every April, as lilac blossoms open and my nose catches their scent, I welcome the reminder to slow down, breathe, touch, feel and welcome Mother Earth back from her sleepy winter months.
Lilacs. I’m forever grateful.
Life experiences that come to us in scent form seem to leave us with a much more profound memory. Have you ever experienced this? What was your moment, your scent?