There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by.
William C. Bryant
… or in our case …. as we bike by the fragrances, inhaling deeply. The smells of the countryside are all around us. It is been a great year for clover, and the sun lifts its perfume towards us. Then the grass where the famer has cut a swathe to feed fresh, and left another swathe to dry for hay. Gradations in aroma from sharp to mellow.
The compost from the cow-barn straw lies in a tidy line alongside the farm tracks/bike tracks, sometimes covered by green canvas, sometimes steaming a little in the open air. The smell of future fertility. More pungent is the schüti (if that’s how you spell it – my dictionary doesn’t do dialect). That’s the cowshed effluent, collected in large vats where it ferments until the farmer and the weather decide it’s time to spray it on the paddocks. The smell of schüti is totally accurate forecaster of rain.
So the smell cycle goes …. Cut the grass – fragrant; spray the shütti – pungent; watch the crows, seagulls, and yes our resident storks, hurry in to catch the small tasty things exposed and brought to the surface.
We passed a cut field of grain with its warm dusty smell, and suddenly I was back 60-mumble years, in an ancient farm shed, turning the handle of a what-seemed-massive old iron grinder. I was grinding the wheat and corn for the hens, in what was a favourite task – not a chore at all. Perhaps it was the pleasure of a small girl in the power she could exert through a machine.
The smell of horses and cows is just as potent a carrier of memory. There’s something of warmth and comfort, something of a feeling of safety alongside the bulk of familiar animals with warm breath and their own being.
And then come the sweetnesses. The almond perfume of the Meadowsweet. Its English name reflects the fragrance; its local name Wiesengaissenbart,(field-goat’s beard) picks up the visuals. It’s a great herbal too.
The surprising fragrance of a field of Echinacea. I’ve grown it in the garden for Mani’s herbal remedies, but never thought it had a scent until I was surrounded by it.
Another (fragrance-free) treat to share: a cluster of old farm buildings. Don’t you love the person who, some years back, painted these.
Linger moment, thou art fair.
Christopher Marlowe – Dr Faustus