Eating Air

Linden, Chocolate Oncidium and Mimosa.

On my half-light bicycle ride through the country, every now and then a mystical fragrance collided with my nostrils. In response to this oh-so-pleasant surprise, I would inhale deeply, expanding my lungs to maximum capacity, then hold, sweetening my body from the inside-out. I pictured the balmy aroma traveling in a yellow waft first to my lungs, then to my heart and veins, moving ever outward toward my finger tips.

Aromatherapy in it’s purest form. 

Eventually I had to let go and exhale (quick, quick!) because I wanted another taste of this sweet air – another deep inhalation before the moment passed – or before I passed by this Linden tree and it’s tiny yellow flowers, flitting and blossoming in the July air. This kind of lopsided breathing (breathing deeply, holding, then exhaling too fast) could be a bad thing, but with the scent of Linden filling the air, it’s hard to see how.

This tree blossomed regardless of audience or accolade. A rather unassuming tree with branches and leaves as common as can be and flowers dangling from the stems like tiny yellow stars.

It consumes me. 

Or rather, I consume it. Really, there is not getting enough.

I circled back for another taste. This is how I roll on my bicycle. There’s no race, no direct route, agenda or plan. If I am caught by a sight, I stop. I snap a photo. If the air smells sweet, I circle back. If there are cows, I stop to moo at them. (Last night I was zapped by an electric fence while saying ‘hello’ to a cow. True story).

They say memories are strongest and most vivid when triggered by scent. The Linden reminds me of being a child, of walking arm in arm with my mother. It brings me back to Eutin, a small village in Germany I’m very fond of. Maybe it’s genetic. This same tree used to make my mother stop in her tracks. She would breath deeply, inhaling more than exhaling. Just like me. I can’t help it.

I want to eat the air. 

I see sunshine yellow when I breath their scent. I think of Mimosa blossoms – those pretty little pom-pom puffs of joy. And I think of bee honey – unpasteurized. Ahh, but the strongest resemblance is the delicate vanilla scent of an oncidium orchid – frilly and hand-painted with cocoa, wine, butter and sweet cream. You must nearly bury your nose into the flower to find the scent, but afterward … oh…

You can’t imagine breathing regular air anymore. 

Chocolate oncidium orchids can ruin you for ordinary, everyday breathing.

So can the Linden tree. It can make you want to save your breathing for only the good stuff – exclusively for wafts of sweet chocolate, vanilla, honey and sunshine.


Aspiring story teller. Flower picker. Hopeful artist. Perpetual seamstress. Seasonal knitter. General pot-stirrer.

1 Comment

  • Reply July 10, 2015

    Ruth Janzen

    My mother – your Aunt Agnes – also loved the Linden blossoms – they reminded her of her original home in Russia. Maybe that was the memory for your Mom as well…

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