There is a slight lifting of the air so I can smell the earth for the first time, and yesterday I again took possession of my life here

May Sarton
Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth Year

May Sarton, cheerful, reflective, and just back in the US from a happy trip to London, smelled the earth and again took possession of her life there. The very next day she was afflicted by an old trouble, that of believing her life was a chaos!

The affliction is probably chief reason so many love her journals: just like them! – or me.

I want to abide for a moment with the notion of the earth’s scent, and repeatedly taking ‘possession of my life here’. It’s not a once and for all thing. ‘Chaos’ in its many forms is part and parcel of everyone’s life. Great potential rests in our ability, contemplatively and daily, to sense ‘slight lifting of the air’ and come to our senses again, and then again, and again.

Family and friends, and sometimes that quiet old friend the journal, help us to do that.


With immediacy and intensity, smell activates the memory, allowing our minds to travel freely in time.

Tom Robbins
Jitterbug Perfume, 1984

I was aware of the scent in the air before I spotted the local farming family’s pretty stall.


And with lightning speed I revisited hundreds of life events when I’ve been drawn to the perfume before, from infancy upwards.

It’s true. Our minds are already able to travel freely in time. And I wonder with glad anticipation about the senses, immediacies and intensities of an eternal future.