April 17, 2020

Yesterday I posted about Easter lilies, and their wonderful fragrance. Today, I bring you more news about scents – this one not so lovely.

We were awakened around 3:30 am by the sound of Kiko, our dog, toenails clicking down the stairs and the horrendous, wretched, nose-hair burning smell of skunk! It was nauseating to me, bothersome to Rod (whose olfactory sensitivity isn’t quite up to snuff), and apparently extremely interesting to Kiko.  

Dead skunk in the middle of the road is bad, skunk spray, up close and personal, is exponentially worse. This Pepé Le Pew must have gotten beneath the deck, directly under our kitchen window, attacked or frightened by some other critter and set off a nuclear stink bomb of epic proportions. 

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It wasn’t a very pleasant rest of the night. I put on one of my facemasks and tried to get back to sleep. Who knew that the molecules of skunk spray could get through one of those? I lay awake thinking about what that might say about other contagions.

Twenty-four hours later, with two traps set, vinegar heated on the stove, a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup, and a $30 odor absorbing bag hanging in the kitchen, the smell is more bearable in most of the house. And since garlic is supposed to ward off vampires, I may try frying some up today.

One upside is that bad smells apparently help to reinforce social distancing. I stopped by the office yesterday morning, after taking a shower and washing my hair, and from a safe distance mentioned my ordeal to Becky. She noted that she caught a whiff of the scent in the air. It might have been unpleasant for Becky, but it was a great relief to get out of the house, like a breath of fresh air. 

You know what it is like to get the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven, and then go for a long walk? You return home, open the door, and are greeting with a smell that sets your mouth to watering? Don’t expect the same after a skunk attack!

All kidding aside, compared to the bigger things happening in the world, this is such a minor issue. But when nerves are frayed, and life as we’ve come to expect it is suddenly taken down by an unseen virus, and then the place that you are supposed to be “staying-at-home” smells, or your kids are being kids and not the polite students they apparently are in school, or you can’t get toilet paper or hand-sanitizer, or you have lost your job, even a smell can put you close to the edge. 

What I am saying to myself, and to you, is be gentle with yourself and with others. These are hard times, our fuses are shorter than usual, make space for self-care. Take a walk – the fresh air will do you and those around you much good. Take a few deep breaths. Laugh at yourself. And pray. Psalm 141:2 is a reminder that prayer smells good. “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.”

Keeping my distance for the best of reasons, ~ Anne

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