What does spring smell like?

As told to Jennifer Rice

Our lush Pacific Northwest surroundings make it difficult to ignore the fragrance and vibrancy of spring. Yet each individual inter-prets the change differently. The great Austrian composer Gustav Mahler wrote, “With the coming of spring I am calm again.” On the contrary, the late comedian Robin Williams said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’” So what does spring say to you?

Smell of Spring, Dan Wilson

Dan Wilson

FORMER SEATTLE MARINERS CATCHER

 

Spring brings the smells of fresh cut grass from the infield that take me back to childhood. It’s the hope of spring training and the start of baseball season. It’s a time for dirt stains on snow white pants after a slide or dive. Spring is the crack of a bat and squinting at the sun to make the catch. It’s the scent of hot dogs and popcorn in the stands during the slow, relaxed pace of a nine-inning conversation.

 

Tiffany Hedrick

ART CONSERVATOR, CITY OF SEATTLE

Spring signals an awakening for my songwriting. Warmer weather and longer days bring optimism and inspiration. I generally feel more emotional energy for my artistic process. Three songs from my last album were all written or recorded during spring and inspired by the Pacific Northwest. So yeah, I definitely love spring.Spring in the northwest can be magical. It beckons a reawakening of the senses as blossoms emerge and colors petition our attention. My job as an art conservator is to reignite our awareness of the art we have walked past, sometimes for decades, maybe without even noticing. To remove the viridian lichen and gray of winter from a totem pole, to oil it and render it bronzed and awaiting your discovery.

Smell of Spring, Jourdan Imani Keith

Jourdan Imani Keith

FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, URBAN WILDERNESS PROJECT, SEATTLE

Spring smells green and new, like a baby’s neck—with just a bit of warm milk. It smells like burning last year’s grass and making way for the electric colors that would embarrass a tree frog. It smells like iron, iron and minerals in the freshly turned soil; and that smell is, perhaps, the blood of a freshly killed lamb, draining over a bowl, that will soon become chops.In February, the early scent of small daphne blooms in my yard, heralding the approach of spring. The blooms hold on until mid-March when the riot of blossoms breaks out, first my plum tree, then the cherry blossoms join in, along with the apple tree’s white small tender leaves. After the first rain, my walkway is covered in pink petals of snow.

Do Peterson

SINGER-SONGWRITER, SEATTLE

Spring signals an awakening for my songwriting. Warmer weather and longer days bring optimism and inspiration. I generally feel more emotional energy for my artistic process. Three songs from my last album were all written or recorded during spring and inspired by the Pacific Northwest. So yeah, I definitely love spring.

Smell of Spring,Charlie Lydum

Victor Reyes

LANDSCAPER/GARDENER, REDMOND

I did not notice springtime as a child in Mexico so for me, the Northwest spring is something very special. I treasure the little bits of sun and milder temperatures. Each day I get a few more minutes of sunlight and the strong yet varied smells of spring hit me each time.

 

Matthew Dillon

CHEF AND RESTAURATEUR, VASHON ISLAND

Spring smells green and new, like a baby’s neck—with just a bit of warm milk. It smells like burning last year’s grass and making way for the electric colors that would embarrass a tree frog. It smells like iron, iron and minerals in the freshly turned soil; and that smell is, perhaps, the blood of a freshly killed lamb, draining over a bowl, that will soon become chops.

Shaun Peterson

NATIVE ARTIST, MILTON

Seasons are part of stories that I have grown up with in the Pacific Northwest. In spring I think of bike rides with my grandfather along the river and seeing the daffodils bloom. Specifically I think of the rain during this transition; I smell the wet dirt and grass in the air that brings green across the South Sound valley. In our culture, Coast Salish, the frogs are a big part of the season. When the frogs sing it is the end of Winter Ceremony and the canoes are brought out to the waters.

 

Charlie Lydum

COUGAR RIDGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL THIRD GRADER, BELLEVUE

On Thursdays I have to get to school extra early. I hang posters, sort the garbage and compost in the cafeteria, and deliver the GOOS (Good On One Side) paper boxes to all the classrooms. I am outside more and I get to see how the recycling and composting we did in the winter makes the fields greener. My mom says that if I didn’t have green grassy fields to play on I would go CRAZY!

Smell of Spring, Sally Jewell

Sally Jewell

U.S. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR

As the snow firms under foot in the Cascades, the days feel longer and the avalanche lilies begin to emerge—you know spring has arrived. Tempting beautiful days, interspersed with rainy ones; bike rides along the Burke-Gilman Trail; fragrant flowers and spring breezes pull us outside. I look forward to picking up a pulaski and working on a trail, taking my grandchildren exploring in the deep, dark woods, and drinking in the gifts of nature on my Northwest doorstep.

  • Jennifer Rice

    Jennifer Rice studied Spanish and Art History in college. She wanted to work in a museum. Life’s meandering path pointed her toward public relations instead. Go figure! She now works out of her home office juggling client work, freelance writing, kids, and a dog. When Jennifer is not busy writing, researching, brainstorming, editing or pitching she is planning artsy-fartsy activities and excursions for her family.

  • HUM Creative

    Hum Creative is a design studio based in Seattle.

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