Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Breath of Spring

Laughing eggs, a sure sign of spring.

As the snow starts to recede in earnest and the spring breezes start up in Alaska the fragrance is less than floral.

"Whoa... you step in something?"

 "Like what? Oh wait, I smell it too. Lemme check. Nothing. What about you?"

"Nope, I checked. Never mind, it's just spring."

Spring is supposed to serve as a muse. The generally accepted theory is that the results will extol the virtues of love and the beauty of nature reborn. I've tried to capture that springtime inspiration many times, but continually rin into problems. It seems the peculiar odor that emanates during the early stages of our Alaskan springs are less than inspirational; at least in any sort of positive way. The best I've been able to come up with is this little ditty.

(By the way, for those of you who are prone to singing, these lyrics go with "Love is in the Air" by Paul Young. Crank up the karaoke machine and have a good time.)

Sometimes spring needs a little help
Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air,
Smells like dog-doo all around.
Spring is in the air,
And the stench is most profound.
And I don't know if it's from the dog pen,
Don't know why it's not too sweet,
But it's something I don't want to step in,
And it's hopefully not on my feet.

Spring is in the air,
It's a pungent kind of breeze.
Spring is in the air,
It'll knock you to your knees.
And I don't know if I'm just dreaming,
Don't know if it's for real,
But it's something for sure I'm smelling 
And a queasiness I can feel.

Springtime smells emanate from the melting snow.
Spring is in the air,
With the melting of the snow.
Spring is in the air,
You'll learn where Fido likes to go.
And I don't know if I'm being silly,
Don't know if I've lost my mind,
But the source of the scent can't be found
And it shouldn't be that hard to find.

Spring is in the air,
Makes you gag and makes you wheeze.
Spring is in the air,
A noxious scent in every breeze.
And I don't know how long it will drag on,
Don't know how soon it will fade,
But it's something that I'd like to go 'way,
So I'll go pick it up with a spade.

Spring is in the air.... Oh! Oh! Oh!

Like most people, I blamed eau d'early spring on man's best friends. It never ceased to amaze me how widespread the odor problem was. Even in those areas where dogs wouldn't be commonly found, the odor prevailed. Recently, however, I read a different explanation. According to a biologist quoted in the article, the odor we associate with spring isn't entirely canine in origin. The source is predominantly a release of gas from underground biological activity that was trapped during the winter. Apparently, even though the ground is frozen, things continue to ferment in the soil, under the snow.

Two sources of spring scents
Given that explanation, let's take a closer look at the reality of the spring air situation. The earth has been sleeping soundly for the past five months - albeit fermenting merrily away all the while. Spring is an awakening. Taking the slumbering earth analogy a little further, what we enter into this time of year is essentially the morning. As the earth wakes up, it quite naturally stretches and yawns. So let's be fair about this: nobody's breath is pleasant when they first get up.

But to be honest, I'm going to stick to blaming the dogs. Seems like such a waste to rewrite perfectly good lyrics.

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  1. I do more than stretch and yawn when I get up. ;) Perhaps that is the reason for the offensive odor...

    1. Hmmm... hadn't thought of that. Still, it's a fermentation, of sorts. ;-)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for reading the blog. I'm glad you liked it enough to leave a comment. Having relocated to New Mexico, I'm wondering what special scents await next spring. May have to write another poem.