Doug Lewandowski column: Take time to enjoy the smells of the day

Outdoors on a summer day, there’s nothing like walking by a house where someone is mowing a lawn.

My wife and I experience a lot of smells from our home atop a hill in Piedmont. That one sense of five adds to the enjoyment of most days.

O ne thing I will miss about getting the paper in the morning is the chance to go outside and whiff a new day. When the wind shifts, we know it right now; the Aspens tremble in an altered way and the Norway pine treetops start to lean in a different direction. Along with a change in the wind can come different fragrances.

When we lived in Iowa for a time, we had some of the “benefits” from “the smell of money.” There are a lot of pigs there, and they don’t live in little wooden houses spread around a field much anymore.

When one lives downwind from any industry, no matter what it is, there can be some unpleasant olfactory leftovers from production processes when the wind’s right.
There are consequences to liking barbecued Iowa chops on a hot summer night or a ham slice at Easter, especially when the breezes blow from the south during the spring thaw.

Other air currents from that direction almost any time of year carried a fragrance from the manufacture of sleek RVs. They were made with gobs of fiberglass formed into graceful shapes that required an epoxy to make sure the glass held its contours. But there are good smells, too.


Outdoors on a summer day, there’s nothing like walking by a house where someone is mowing a lawn, especially when it’s not your day to cut grass. There’s a chance to savor the fragrance without being preoccupied with getting it done by supper or before a spouse gets home from work. If the lawn job comes on a warm spring day, that saunter through the neighborhood can be further enhanced by sniffing the nearest vibrant purple lilac bush or crab apple tree.

Then there’s baking: stone-ground whole wheat bread, blueberry muffins and the best … chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Who needs birthday cakes? I’d rather have the same number of cookies than an equal candle count flaming on the cake any time. My god — what did I just say?

Preparing a meal, especially for family or friends, carries with it all kinds of aromas. Ever cut a large onion to saute without some serious weeping? Or how about that time the big dinner party you threw required French onion soup as the first entree. Bet you didn’t remember that that soup would linger in the far reaches of the house for days even with your best efforts at Fabreezing it away … but it was so good!

After that experience, cooking the family fish fry might have to make a retreat to the garage or back porch. Love the taste of walleye, but deep-fat frying memories in the morning that hang out in the kitchen pretty much wrecks the special French toast recipe of Aunt Mildred for house guests.

I’m not lucky enough to have the sensitivities of a canine companion, but if you are, enjoy the moment when good old Bowser, Chum or Charlie lift his head to take in a new day with his nose.

We people have to depend more on sight, hearing and touch. But just take a minute to inhale deeply and remember you’re here for another day and not downwind from the hog farm, even if it smells like money.

Doug Lewandowski is a retired counselor, educator and licensed psychologist. Write to him at


Doug Lewandowski mug.jpg
Doug Lewandowski

What To Read Next
Get Local