Can You Smell The Roses?


Can You Smell The Roses?

“Our natural given right is our sense of smell. Use it.”


We went to The Sea Ranch recently, with friends who live in Southern California and who finally joined us on a trip there, after many invitations. Michael, who calls himself a city person and rarely goes out to nature, said that the strolls along the bluff that we took during the morning and afternoons were the best walks he had ever had in his life. I was not surprised.


The beautiful nature, the wild animals that we encountered along the way, and the bloom of flowers, which were abundant after the late rain, made those walks memorable. The air was filled with different smells and aromas. The very specific smell of the ocean, the smell of freshly cut grass, and flowers. The blend of those aromas would invigorate anyone’s senses. The art of mixing different flowers to create ointments are known from the ancient times—

“Ointments and perfumes delight the heart” (Proverbs 27:9).



During our walks while I photographed the beautiful surroundings, our friend brought up an idea. It could be great if smells could be extracted and stored in photographs, so people can see and smell the images simultaneously. I thought about this when we visited a spice store in Murphys, CA.  My response was that it probably could happen. Like so many other inventions that started with an idea, the fact that these thoughts came up, means that this possibility exists and has just not manifested yet. On one of our recent flights in the Southwest Airlines’ magazine, Spirit, I found an article, “Scents and Sensibility”. Somehow I am not surprised when this kind of coincidence happens.

The article described what is going on in the study of smells called Osmology / Olfactology. Apparently, not everyone can smell roses, or anything else, because they lack or have lost their sense of smell—called anosmia. Smells can affect our behavior and change our moods. Scientists, who work at the Monell Chemical Sense Center in West Philadelphia, discovered that humans can actually detect more than 1 trillion smells. At the same time, “Monell scientists work tirelessly to crack the code of these scents. Trimmer and her colleagues are trying to figure out what odors light up which combinations of receptors and how genes influence that process. She says they know the receptor combos for at least 40 odors. Less than a trillion to go.”

While they are busy with that work, get out to nature, enjoy its’ beauty, and exercise your senses to the fullest.


While I cannot share with you my olfactory sensory experiences, you can enjoy the beauty I was fortunate enough to capture on our trip to The Sea Ranch. You can see more of my images of flowers on Twitter, Facebook, and on my office walls. You are always welcome to visit.

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