Archive for February 2009

Just Nosing Around

February 7, 2009

Shit HappensI can hardly wait to see what this turns out to be.  “Smelling the Music”?  I had to walk away from this one for a couple of days, but then the phrase, “There’s music in the air” came to me.  I read somewhere that our capacity to perceive and differentiate smells was critical in our evolution.  These days we’re still using it, but not giving it enough credit.  According to Wikipedia there are all kinds of pheromones from food, to trails, to sex that affect our behavior whether we know it or not, or like it or not.  I think that one of the reasons that smell doesn’t get enough respect is that it isn’t about anything tangible.  Whereas sight, sound, taste and touch seem more real, more demonstatable somehow.  Smell is so subjective.  If you don’t believe me just talk to any wine lover who can wax rhapsodic about grassy and buttery and leathery and ….  And they will go to war over this stuff.  I think it is because, potential snobbery aside, celebrating a very personal experience. Certainly a lot of animals have what I’m told is an amazing sense of smell.  Dean Koontz has written stories that rely on the point of view of a dog and his smelling ability.  So, what about us?  Is this just something we’ve let wither away for lack of respect and attention?  And, how does this apply to the music of life?  I know I could rant on this using metaphors of/for smell,  but it is not metaphors we need here it is the living experience.  So, what is the living experience of smelling music?  First thought: a baby’s diaper.  If that isn’t part of the music of life then I don’t know what is.  Fresh baked cookies.   A lot of my happiest music smells are associated with food.  But, then there’s fresh cut grass.  The smoke from fireplaces and camping.  At some level isn’t it interesting how much money gets spent covering up smells?  “You stink?”  That’s not something any of us wants to hear, but “What’s that cologne you have on?”, that’s ok.  It wasn’t that long ago that cultures around the world would offer up burnt offerings hoping to appease and influence the gods and goddesses with the smell.  As close as we come these days is the BBQ in the backyard where we make our offerings to the good life by pretending to be primitive.  As I read this over I begin to “smell a rat”.  I’m missing something.  Maybe a piece of it has to do with the way smells can so easily transcend boundaries.  They, like the Holy Spirit and my old friend the Trickster, are no respecter of artificially drawn lines.  Good smells and bad smells find a way in.  No wonder we try to cover them up.