Smelling the Future
Herein lies the wonder and the terror of the Internet: I am working with some small degree of focus on a writing project this morning as I search in my saved links. Suddenly there I see something I bookmarked but didn’t read, and I’m off down that rabbit-trail to someplace I had not intended to go.
And it conjures a whole nuther line of thought: what will my morning distractions be like when the web gets a nose?
It’s just a matter of time until not only will I describe the *fragrance of our pasture trail–an effort to describe smells, an area where the English language is woefully inadequate–I will be able (with my smart phone perhaps) to copy and paste it to your computer and you can download and play it into the air of your office.
ReadWriteWeb has an interesting piece on the rising role of smell detection and applications already in use of just over the horizon.
Like any other technology, it will be two-edged. You can probably imagine your teenagers sharing all sorts of odiferous-auditory events via email, text message and such. Olfactory vandalism: can it be far off? I think I get a whiff of it already.
* Truth is, I really wish I could share what we smell in a summer-morning walk along the “new road” that follows our pasture back up towards the gorge. I am pretty certain that this year smells different from any we’ve experienced here. (This will be our 10th summer.) I used the term the other day that I used from a June essay (Summer Lightning) from 2002: “It is like midnight bread baking.”
There is that pleasing, polleniferous, mildly-sweet, lightly roasted smell to it–and an impulse embedded in it that makes one want to stand still, to breathe long and deep, with the eyes closed. Like so many smells in the out-of-doors, it sends the mind into the vault of memories–of fresh-cut grass and mother’s roses, lemonade and honeysuckle. Ahhh…
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