What You Didn’t Know About That Cut Grass Smell
This morning I went for a quick walk before lunch and was greeted by the sweet smell of hot blackberries. It’s been unseasonably sunny and the berries on the bushes that line the path have already reached and passed their ideal ripeness.
Tomorrow it’s due to rain and I can’t wait for the long awaited rain to wash away the smoke from the wildfires that has blown down from further up the coastline. There’s actually a word for the smell of fresh rain when it falls on dry soil – ‘Petrichor’ – from the Greek ‘Petra (stone) and ‘ichor’ – the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.
“Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes,” Anna Quindlen, Short Guide to a Happy Life.
Smells have an incredible emotional quality about them. They remind us of places we’ve been, food we’ve eaten and people we’ve met from years ago. “A number of behavioral studies have demonstrated that smells trigger more vivid emotional memories and are better at inducing that feeling of “being brought back in time than images” states an article in Psychology Today.
Hey look, science: That lovely scent of long summer’s evenings, the smell of freshly cut grass is actually a defense mechanism. That’s right, while you’re reminiscing about how lovely it is to finally have your sunny days back, the grass is in distress, you monster.
According to MentalFloss.com “Leafy plants release a number of volatile organic compounds called green leaf volatiles (GLVs). When the plants are injured, whether through animals grazing on them, you cutting or mowing them, or even just unintentionally rough handling, these emissions increase like crazy.”
Pine-Sol kindly sent me a few of their scents, including the Mandarin orange, which reminds me of my Dad, back in England, when he makes his own marmalade. Once a year, usually in the autumn, he heads into town to pick up a couple of bags of oranges to peel, boil, reduce down and adds sugar and pectin in a massive pot.
The whole house smells like warm orange for the rest of the day and the shelves are stacked high with glass jam jars that he’s saved all year, all labelled with ‘Ian’s Marmalade’. The best part is that no matter how much buttery toast and thick scoops of marmalade we have all Winter, it’ll always last well into the Spring. I think I’ll have to continue the tradition with my own family here in Canada.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Pine-sol for the trip down memory lane and for supporting my little Dad Blog. I’m off to the local Loblaws supermarket to pick up some oranges and jam jars.