The Scent of a Lake in the Mountains

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. Diane Ackerman

My favorite childhood summer scents all conjure up memories of water.  Fresh, salty and earthy they all say summer to me. Lake water mixed with mountain air brings back hiking and camping trips and salty air places me immediately on an Orcas Island beach building driftwood forts while listening to gentle waves rolling across tiny pebbles.

A third water based scent memory is also one of my favorite new words, petrichor.

  Definition: “A pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Even though the Pacific Northwest is known for its wet weather the truth is we rarely see rain in the summer so I most associate petrichor with the scent of sprinkler water bouncing off hot earth under a bright summer sun.  To this day Petrichor still means fun, splashing, and if we are lucky, popsicles and ice cream.

Do you have any favorite summer scents?  If so please share below!

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13 thoughts on “The Scent of a Lake in the Mountains

  1. What a great word, petrichor! I have never heard it before. I suppose it’s not of great use in my “neck of the woods” but I live on hope! 🙂 My favorite smells are at the ocean, but I think I get stirred most by the nostalgia of beach foods along the boardwalk. I can smell foods, and I use the word “food” loosely, like cotton candy and popcorn and taffy…and that brings up childhood memories. Once summer is over the beach areas don’t highlight those offerings quite the same. Summer always brings back childhood memories, no mater my age! 🙂 I loved reading about yours, Lisa.

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