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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Olfactory Clock

Olfactory Clock

Early morning is terra incognita for me. I have never been an early riser. "Early" may be a good descriptor for a British nobleman, but I'd personally prefer "humanly". In my world, the act of getting up ranks #14732, just behind a non-emergency knee drilling, and waking is a slow and painful process that involves much cursing and once in a while hurling reproachful looks towards the alarm clock (I wish I could hurl my shoes instead, but there are never any within easy reach).

If I have to I may be up and running by 8am and sometimes I am up as late as 3am. But that's about it. What this planet feels like between 3am and 8am is largely a mystery to me. Are there any moonstruck mushrooms dancing underneath my windows at that time? I wouldn't know. It is one of those things I try not to be too curious about. After all, it could be hazardous to my health.

Today I had to pick up a friend at the airport, however, and since the red eye from California was supposed to deploy its landing gear around 6.25am, I was forced to drag my senses through a largely unknown morning territory. After a long time, I was to be reacquainted with the part of the day that polite people do not discuss in public. And what a strange world it was indeed. Songs of birds I didn't know existed. But above all, I detected a very different set of smells. Some familiar and some new, it smelled like a brave new world out there.

Already when I was a kid, I noticed that different periods of the day had different characteristic aromas. I remember that behind my grandparents' country house there was a huge cole-seed field from which different smells were emanating at different times. A crisp fragrance in the morning, a rich deep bouquet at noon, and a mystifying incense in the depths of night. And in my mind I thought I could tell time just by smelling that field.

Some wine connoisseurs have so finely tuned taste buds that they can take a small sip of Pinot Gris, roll it on their tongue for a second and tell you not only all about the soil whence it came, but also about the year in which it was made. So I imagine you could train your olfactory sensors just as precisely and use the powerful nose processor instead of a watch. You'd just step outside, take a deep breath and - "oh yeah, it must be 4.37pm".

Just my 2 scents.



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