November 18, 2009
tonight it smells like cold. do you know that smell? when you go outside and the air fills your nose and stings just a little bit? when you can smell chimney smoke and the woodsy smell of fallen leaves and everything feels crisp and clear? the smell usually comes at night. yes, on cloudless nights in the wintertime, you can step outside and smell cold.
the smell reminds me of coming home late from my cousins’ house when we were little. we’d be in our flannel nightgowns and the car would be so cozy and warm. when we pulled in our driveway, the engine would turn off and my sisters and i would pretend to sleep so that my dad would carry us across the lawn and into our beds. the smell would hit as soon as the car door opened and it would linger even after we were inside. i could smell it on my sisters’ hair and nightgowns as we brushed our teeth.
tonight i rode my bike home from school after dark. i smelled cold the whole ride home, and when i walked in the house, james had made chocolate chip walnut cookies–another kind of smell altogether and just the sort you want to smell after smelling cold.
unfortunately smells aren’t as easily captured as sounds are. but tell me, what are your favorites?

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Wendy November 18, 2009 at 5:09 am

    too fun!..I just made a list of my favorite smells in my journal the other day…so a few on my new list are: fresh smells like newly mowed grass, cucumber slices,fresh rain on pavement..and then there are the 'cozy' smells like your cookies..cinammon, bread baking and toast popping when you are just waking up in the AM..I also love the smell of trees and woods ( living in the Rockies! )

  • Reply jen November 18, 2009 at 5:17 am

    how lovely. i enjoyed recalling new sounds with your other post but when i think of smells, familiar ones tied to loving memories fill my mind. my mother's perfume on a night out with dad, my backpack full of the aroma of oyster sauce and oil, the crook of his neck when i nuzzle in, my baby's perfect skin, and the change of seasons

  • Reply PlanetLumiere November 18, 2009 at 9:03 am

    i love your childhood story! for me it winter smell means chimney smoke, roasted chestnuts (cos they sell them on little carts on the street corners here in istanbul) and the cold itself seems to have a scent on its own too.


  • Reply cupcake studio November 18, 2009 at 9:14 am

    What a lovely post! They are harvesting the cornfields around us and that is a smell I enjoy. It smells like winter is coming.

    And…the smell I can't wait to smell? Mom's sausage stuffing!

  • Reply Bonbon Oiseau November 18, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    this is so sweet erin…such beautiful memories…

  • Reply Emily November 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I love your description of the cold, for it is so wonderfully accurate! That particular smell always makes me of early mornings when I was growing up and we lived in an old farmhouse in the Maine woods. This smell was clean and sharp and so natural. I remember when I moved away to college, how I would miss that smell. For the city smell of cold is much different than that of the country!

  • Reply Pretty Neat Designs November 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Such a pretty post. I could picture every detail. My favorite smell is lilac. The strong heady scent grabbing both my nose and my heart at the same time. It is an intense pleasure.

  • Reply Caroline November 18, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I love the smells of fall and winter too. On Monday I took my students on a field trip to the Arnold Arboretum and we were wandering around in the conifer collection. More than one student commented on how much it smelled like Christmas.

  • Reply Erin November 18, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    yum, so many good smells. right now my tea is treating my just fine, but i wouldn't mind smelling a piney forest or roasting chestnuts!

  • Reply vintage simple November 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I think you captured the smell of cold just perfectly, actually.

    I love the smell (and sound) of the first snow… It smells icy and crunchy somehow, and… the muffled quiet makes it feel as though the earth is holding its breath.


  • Reply chelsea Fuss November 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Lovely. This inspires me to embrace winter. I've been in denial. I love walking into a cozy house in the winter with candles lit and smells of baking bread!

  • Reply janis November 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    The smell of rain, just before it really pours…

  • Reply Julia (Color Me Green) November 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    i love when a smell memory hits – a memory you've been ignoring or forgetting until you stumble upon a whiff that reminds you of that creaky old library or that exboyfriend's bedroom or your college dorm room.

  • Reply Beth November 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Awesome post. Woodstove is a favorite smell of mine. And sharpened pencils. And trees. I guess I like "woodsy" smells!

  • Reply sew nancy November 18, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    this post is lovely. i just read it aloud to my son and he said is favorite smell is fox smell.
    however, we live in the suburbs so it is all in his imagination.
    i love woodsy smells, lavender, rose, the smell of burning wood and chocolate chip cookies of course.

  • Reply denise November 18, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    The first thing that comes to mind is campfire + toasted marshmallows.

  • Reply Amy@Old Sweet Song November 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Yes, please. As previously mentioned I want a candle that smells exactly like that!

  • Reply Diana November 25, 2009 at 12:54 am

    oh gosh! I thought I was the only one that smelled the cold and fall air! 🙂

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.