Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Aromas of Santa Fe

Everyone has heard about the "light" in Santa Fe. The intense blue sky, the thin atmosphere--which attracts artists from many disciplines. But the environment also affects smells. Santa Fe actually smells nice. Even though we are in a basin, we don't have smog and there isn't enough atmosphere to hold any particular odor for long.

Some of what we are experiencing now includes the smell of pinon burning. Stepping outside in the early evening, no discernible wind, the sweet and musky smell of pine is wafting across the valley. A prelude to winter with many of our outdoor fireplaces stoked.

Russian Sage is just past peak all over the hills surrounding Santa Fe. A member of the mint family, it's foot long panicles bloom for many weeks in the late fall, sending a distinctly sagey aroma out in to the atmosphere.

In the summer months we have lavender, planted in drifts in some subdivisions around Santa Fe and at the lavender farm in Tesuque. And chocolate flower is a personal favorite. You have to get close but once it hits you it is a very strong scent of chocolate.

North of Santa Fe, in the more alpine regions, we have stands of Ponderosa Pine. The deeply etched bark has a lovely flavor of vanilla which you can almost taste as you pass by.

And last, I've caught the scent of our marauding bear, who most likely has garlic breath from sampling the neighbors left-overs from Tomasitas. His odor isn't exactly one I enjoy, but it does let me know he's around.