Sense of smell is a very persistent and emotional sense. It can evoke feelings and memories like no other sense.
St. Louis is a Midwestern city and so is familiar to me on a visceral level. Some of the familiarity has to do with the sights; some is sound. St. Louis has my familiar robins and red wing blackbirds, with their pretty calls and the grackles without. But a big deal are the smells. I am here at the right time of the year. The hawthorns are blooming. This brings back memories at least back to sixth grade when we took a field trip to Hawthorn Glen. That was back in 1966. I also remember the smells from Grant Park. It is a distinctive smell. At the hotel, I am near the pool. I like the smell of chlorine, reminds me of my swim team days.
Another memorable smell is from the linden trees. They are just coming out here. I have written about this before. There are not many lindens in Milwaukee. Although their American cousins, the basswoods, are very common, they don’t have the same sweet smell. I remember the lindens from my first trip to Germany. They are a common tree in central Europe. Poland also has lots of them, so many than their word for the month of July is Lipiec from the Polish word for linden, which is lipa. In North America the lindens flower in late May or June. In Poland they are out late June or July, hence the name.
There is also lots of lavender. Lavender is an interesting memory. I became familiar with lavender smells because of air fresheners. When I first encountered lavender in real life, I was surprised how much it smelled like air fresheners. I guess Glade does a good job of mimicking it.
A few blocks later was the tannery. That was probably the worst stink.Just past the river, we got into the yeast smell from Schlitz & Pabst breweries.When the wind was right, you got the sweet chocolate smell from Ambrosia Chocolate factory.
Today the air is much cleaner. When it has any smell at all, it tends to be perfumed with flowers and trees and not the old familiar industrial smells. It is better, but it was kind of interesting to be able to tell where you were in the city by the taste of the air.
My pictures show lindens, hawthorns, a nice fountain and an urban farm. St. Louis is looking good.