Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Addictive aroma

Forget roses, people should stop and smell the lilacs

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I am riding my bike, it's 10 p.m., it's dark, and there is a crispness to the ever-warming spring air.

The day's events are running through my mind, and the list of things to do is getting longer, which makes me feel an urgency to get home faster.

In spite of the endorphins from my ride, the tension in my body is increasing and then -- wham -- suddenly my senses come alive, and a wave of calm rushes over my entire body.

I have pedalled into a new world, a different realm, as though I rode right through that armoire straight into Narnia. But instead of stepping through furniture and into a fantastical, snowy winter landscape, I have cycled through a cloud of dense aroma in the spring air... except there is no witchery or talking lions, and the kingdom does not end up at war.

OK, so maybe it's not like Narnia at all, but I do feel transported to a place where all my troubles have melted away, and I just can't stop smiling.

Pockets of this 'cloud' appear almost every block until I arrive home. I am in bliss. This can only mean one thing -- the lilacs are in bloom.

There is nothing quite like that smell. It is my absolute, hands-down favourite smell in the whole world -- right next to that burst of oxygen and pine scent you get when you step out of your car when you have arrived at the cabin, and... well, chocolate, but that doesn't count because it is an entire food group.

I don't know what it is about the lilac aroma, but its soft yet sharp attack on my senses is so uplifting. I feel as though I can do anything and there isn't a care in the world. It stops me mid-thought, mid-sentence and sends tingles throughout my body. It is like the best drug one can take. It gives you all the warm fuzzies of a high but without the bitterness of the low, and best of all, it is legal, very accessible and free.

There isn't a particular place in Winnipeg I most enjoy the smell of lilacs. In fact, what I enjoy most is when I unknowingly ride right through the scent and it attacks me like a ninja, sneaks up on me and knocks me hard. I can say one thing for sure, the best time to enjoy it is at night. There is something about the damp, crisp air that intensifies this purple candy and sends it straight through my nose to my happy place.

I am not sure why the smell hits me so hard. We had two lilac bushes in our backyard when I was growing up, so maybe it stimulates some sort of wonderful childhood memory in my subconscious. Or maybe it's just what I mark as the sure sign spring has sprung and nature has actually woken up to greet us with life and carry us to the best part of the year, summer.

Please bike safely when experiencing this scent. Thank you.


Shannon Guile is a member of the sketch comedy troupe Hot Thesbian Action. Next month, she is directing/producing a Winnipeg Fringe Festival show by 100 Decibels: A Deaf Mime Troupe called Can You Hear Me Now, at Venue 24.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 15, 2014 A8

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