As dust burns off the heater, croaking like old bones, there’s deep denial about the day.
My daughter pushes her body under the blanket that is her cocoon, her mouse nest. She squirms and her scent rises off her, raw and animalic with last night’s sweat, sleep slowly radiating off her skin. The musky molecules of our bodies are heavy – as reluctant to rise as she is; clinging, burdened by their chemical weight. If you’re reading this blog you probably know that scientists struggle to explain our sense of smell, some think we pick up on vibrations, that scent molecules shimmer, whether with a vibrant energy – from the snap of a sharp green leaf, say – or with a more languid pulsation that our bodies feel through tiny scent receptors. Or it might be a system like a lock and key, each smell with the power to unlock something inside ourselves.
A primitive response.
A compulsion to action.
I want to crawl into her nest with her and pretend away the day, breathe her in, the key to my lock. But I have errands to run, the school bell’s going to ring any moment and we’ll be late again.
Winter downpours have finally bought a moment of proper, deep cold to the city that Sydneysiders like to deny. The air is icy, and the terrace-lined street below is grotty from Darlinghurst’s particular combination of detritus washed in the general direction of old stormwater traps, blocked by sodden leaves. The very first inhale from out the door is unfamiliar, stripped of the usual warm, sweet, slightly fetid scents you get from living in a little divot of the city (car exhausts, the local bakery’s morning offerings, coffee from everywhere, faint marine notes drifting up off the bay).
Instead I smell sharp, green, fresh, mentholated air, strange air. Invigorating air.
I grab the cold wrought iron post on the way down the steps, juggling plastic umbrellas, and jasmine leaves get crushed against my palm.
But there beside is blossom. It’s getting ready to bloom. I’m wearing a new scent. It’s Nasomatto Nudiflorum.
It’s a keeper. A new lock to a new key.