The scent of a man

Our sense of smell is often overlooked. We think of things in terms of what we can see and hear. But the scent of something can induce childhood memories to return, calm a baby, and invoke fear or hunger.

When I think of someone special, the scent is what I think of first.

The way my husband smells makes me feel warm, secure and safe.  It can invoke passion and create intimacy even when we are not being intimate. When I am tired or scared, I love to nuzzle my face down into the hollow of his neck and breathe deep. He thinks I am a bit goofy. He asks “What are you doing” when he catches me sniffing him. I don’t think he realizes what his scent does to me.

This got me thinking about other smells that effect me. When I am holding my children, even the big 10 year old moose, I love to bury my nose in their hair. The warmth of their body mixes with the children’s shampoo and it smells soft and warm. It causes a stirring in my stomach – like butterflies. I remember how it felt to have them growing inside of me. Their tiny little movements. Each movement was unique to them and was a foretelling of their personalities. I remember how it felt to hold them next to my chest and nurse them. It brings me back to when they were new. Today, even the smallest of them resists me holding him except when he is tired or sick. They are all to busy moving, living and growing to be held down by their mom. But the smell of their hair brings me back to a time when they still fit in my arms.

I love the smell of sugar pines growing on mountain tops in the fall. The air is sweet, yet has a bite to it. You can smell the moist earth. Everything there is pure, clean and alive. As we drive up the mountains I often hang my head out the window – like an old hound dog – taking in a huge lungful of air. I can never seem to get enough of it. When I leave the mountains and descend into the thicker air of the city, I feel deflated – as if the air is more dense and it weighs me down. I will often look at pictures of the mountains and close my eyes and breathe deep – remembering the scent of the mountain air. It is not the same, yet remembering it seems to center me, even though all around me is chaos.

Then there is the smell of coffee beans, freshly ground. You know the smell. The way my body reacts to it, when I walk into Phil’s Coffee, makes me pretty sure I have a serious addiction. One wonderful, deep breath and I feel my eyes and my mind come alive in anticipation of the stimulant. The richness of it – the promise it holds.

But the most powerful scent remain my husbands. I once heard someone describe a perfume as having high, mid and base or foundation notes. Well, if my husband was a scent on the market, I would described him this way:

Base note – earthy, freshly turned soil in the spring, after the rain. It is rich and full of life.
Mid note – Velvety Musk that fills the senses with its presence.
High note – spicy or pepper yet sweet like a ginger snap cookie.

All in all, it combines to make a very masculine fragrance.

You don’t really notice it unless you are standing very very close.  But it’s there – it lingers on his jackets and sweaters – on his pillow and in the car after he drives it.  He just looks at me crazy and shakes his head when he catches me smelling his pillow or wearing his bulky sweat shirt. I would never wear it out of the house cause it makes me look 10 times bigger than I am – but when I don’t feel good…its just the thing to make me feel better.   It’s amazing – the often over looked power of smell.


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