Breathe deep and enjoy the fine bouquet of August


August 14, 2019

As I was savoring the heady aroma of raindrops sinking into parched earth during an unexpected rain shower earlier this week, it occurred to me that some of the best scents of the year happen in August: ripening gardens, roasting chiles, back-to-school supplies, fairs.

My friends who are better at working the earth than I am have mature tomatoes growing on lush and aromatic green vines right now. It’s almost worth buying plants at a nursery in the spring only for the scent of those fuzzy leaves.

Brushing past them on a warm summer afternoon? Delightful.

The green chile roasters are making their way onto sidewalks at grocery stores and into corners at farmers’ markets.

I’m such an addict that even seeing a photo of a roaster is enough to send my salivary glands into overdrive.

Add the roar of the flame, the rumble of the tumbler, and the heavenly odor of charred chiles, and this New Mexican is as happy as she can be.

I’m far enough removed from elementary school, both personally and as a mother, to not know if crayons are still on back-to-school purchasing lists, but I hope they are and always will be.

Even without the excuse of a small child clinging to my hand, I want to slip into that aisle this time of year long enough to pick up a fresh box for a sentimental whiff.

My brothers and I grew up as free-range children in the back of an old Ford station wagon. Since electronic entertainment had yet to be invented, we were supplied with well-used crayons and gray-brown lumps of modeling clay, created by mixing all of the colors together and reusing for years on end.

In a solar-heated car, both grew soft or sometimes melted into colorful ponds that permanently stained anything they touched.

Both also had distinctive smells that — to this day — allow me to time travel in an instant to toddlerhood.

That same time traveling happens when I walk onto a fairgrounds, or even drive past one, and catch the first scent wafting out on a dusty breeze.

Who knew that hot grease, steer manure, freshly showered pigs, a teenaged boy’s cologne, and kettle-made popcorn could come together to make such an intoxicating fragrance?

And yet, they do.

Breathe deeply and enjoy. It’s the fine bouquet we call August.

Betty Williamson doesn’t care for perfume but loves the smells of summer. Contact her at:

[email protected]


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