Summer Waxing Grandchildren Moon
Have you ever smelled fresh bees wax? A smell that takes you right to the essence of the natural world. It exudes a sense of well-being, freshness, vitality. I harvested some honey today for the Woolly meal on Monday night. The honey and the honey comb offer that same sensation; perhaps, as latter day Catholics might have said, it is the odor of sanctity.
The experience this morning took me back to two other smell, for me equally enmeshed with the natural world as our obvious home. The first one, of the longest standing for me, I experience in the produce cooler at Cox’s Supermarket when I worked there as a boy. This smell combined apple scents, oranges, bananas, lettuce, watermelon, whatever was in season into a perfume that drew me back often. I would sneak away from stocking shelves or breaking down boxes, push the plunger that opened the door, step inside and be transported to paradise, a place where everything suggested abundance, nourishment and fine flavor.
Another one of these scents came to me only this year as I harvested parsnips. Lifting the tapered white parsnip out of the ground, I brought its roots, only just holding the parsnip in its intimate relationship with the soil, to my nose. Ah. Again, freshness, vitality, well-being. It was as if, for a moment, I inhabited the parsnip’s underground world, the place where it truly lived. There, with the scent, I could trace the connections between the parsnip and its source of nutrients in the soil around it; I could feel the back and forth of vegetable and soil as they interacted in a dance older than the oil beneath the Gulf, older than the iron ore on the range.
Yes, as I think of it, the odor of sanctity is it, exactly. The sacred blossoms into molecules that excite this oldest sense, the one that relates us most closely to the rest of our animal brothers and sisters. The sacred emerges from the sophisticated work of the honey bee turning nectar into honey. The sacred emerges from the fruits of the earth as they await transport to our tables. The sacred emerges within the top layers of soil, that thin web of living things that supports the plants from which we all take our sustenance. Yes, the sacred emerges in these places, and it sends out an aroma to draw attention to itself.