Posted by: thehungryrunner | March 19, 2008

The Sensual Smell of…..Mud

Call me crazy, but one of the pleasures of those first “spring is in the air” outdoor runs is the return of those wonderful earthy fragrances that have been frozen and buried under mounds of snow.  Last week, the Chicago area experienced a couple of truly stellar spring days, with temperatures rising above 40 and 50 and bright sunshine.  The combination proved irresistable, and I found myself scratching my previously planned workouts in favor of heading out to put some much-needed pavement (versus treadmill) miles in my legs.

Considering these were my first runs since early/mid January, suffice it to say I enjoyed them tremendously.  I felt my soul resurrecting itself from what’s been a formidable winter hybernation.  And while the outings provided a sensory bombardment — all the bright colors, the chorus of bird songs, the hum of midday activity in the neighborhood, the mild air and refreshing (as opposed to chilling) breezes, that sense of the landscape coming alive — it was the pervasive smell of mud, along with the glistening puddles created by rapidly thawing “icebergs” (my term for those areas of ice dotting the sidewalks) that I found myself honing in on.  Amazing how something we all take for granted in the middle of August suddenly becomes novel and wonderful!  I filled my nostrils eagerly, enjoying large gulps of breath; I could feel my pores soaking up this “clean smell of dirt” with each stride.

I suppose it reinforces that heavily used but persistently accurate chestnut of wisdom, that if not for winter, spring would not be so sweet.  Let’s hear it for the return of mud!


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