Pepé Le Pew

Living a stone’s throw from the Laura Moore Cunningham arboretum, we enjoy frequent off-lead romps with Willa. On a recent occasion, we saw our big girl—from a distance—preparing to stop, drop, and roll—not because her britches were on fire, but because she was getting ready for a liberal application of eau de skunk from the famous fragrance design house, Mother Nature:

  • Base notes: putrid, sulfur
  • Middle notes: lingering, burning rubber
  • Top notes: bitter, rotten eggs

We bolted and reached her in the nick of time, preventing what would have been an extremely smelly event. As it turns out, skunk urine is an eco-friendly deer repellent that keeps them from munching on the trees in the arboretum.


I use a “repellent” too. A long time ago I discovered that positivity repels negativity. No need to roll in it, a little goes a long way. Positivity is a warm and delightful scent from the famous fragrance design house, Conscious Choice:

  • Base notes: happiness, encouragement, joy
  • Middle notes: gratitude, serenity, interest, hope
  • Top notes: inspiration, awe, loving kindness

What’s your favorite scent?


Painted by Sunrise

A few weeks ago Len surprised me with a dozen garnet-red roses for my birthday. Their velvet petals—tight like cabbage leaves—were held close to their vest, trying to conceal their exotic, spicy scent, but it escaped anyway.

Several days later I was sitting in our living room waiting for the sun to wake its sleepy head. Before I knew it, its golden fingers had reached through the window and painted the now-unfurled, fragrant bouquet.

When was the last time you were painted by the sunrise?


Only the Nose Knows

“When from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.” — Marcel Proust

Dogs interpret the world through their nose by Laurie Buchanan

Dogs interpret the world through their nose by Laurie Buchanan

Of all the senses, smell is the best at bringing memories to the surface. The smell of what my mom called “Porcupines” (meatballs made with rice) immediately transports me to the kitchen of my childhood. The smell of gardenia takes me to Presidio Park in southern California. And like a magic carpet ride, the smell of evergreen with a hint of barnyard whisks me to the Highlands of Scotland.

Odors stimulate chemoreceptors in the nose by Len Buchanan

Odors stimulate chemoreceptors in the nose by Len Buchanan

When an odor stimulates chemoreceptors in the nose, they send electrical impulses to the brain. In turn, the brain interprets patterns in electrical activity as specific odors and olfactory sensation becomes perception that’s linked to the amygdala and hippocampus—parts in the brain that process emotion and are fundamental to our behavior, mood, and memory.

More so than seeing or hearing, different smells serve as keys that unlock memories—of people, places, and things—in our brain.

What’s your favorite smell/memory association?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               — Laurie Buchanan and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved