Sunday, December 09, 2007

Scent mapping

Last night, as we were walking down the road looking for a missing llama in the foggy dark, a spicy, crisp earthy smell caught my nose. I sniffed deep and wondered.

We turned on the road toward the wood shop in the dripping darkness. A smell of dark rich soil hung in the air. I turned off my flashlight and let my feet feel out the stones of the road while my nose sampled the pockets of foggy air that we drifted through. Subtle changes of earth, water and plants made for incredibly different smells as we walked slowly down the road.

I listened and sniffed. Quigley walked quietly with me, doing the same. We stopped where the road forks in the big meadow, earthy, grassy smells. As we got closer to the river, its scent was as distinctive as the sound.

I turned the flashlight back on and decided that there was no way we were going to find a llama that didn't want to be found in 1,600 acres of foggy, drippy, dark wildness.

We walked back to the house, listening to the occasional soggy leaf dropping from a tree and the fading sounds of the river. The fog seemed to hold the air still, keep the sounds and smells close to their origin. The garden still smelled spicy sweet as we walked by and the crossroads in front of the house smelled like dust, even though it is soggy.

The llama came strolling down the road this morning, bringing his unique, exotic llama smell with him.

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