Growing up on a farm produces many strong smells. There is even farm humor around it. When passing by a feedlot, one exclaims “Ah, the smell of money!”

There is much more to it, of course. Farming does produce a living for families, but it is also a way of life. The strong and subtle smells of a farmer’s life serve as a passing reminder of our time.

For whatever reason, the memories of those different smells entered my thoughts last week. The different cycles of life really do have unique smells.

Spring. This is the most obvious smell. Spring flowers produce a tingling of a time of birth. It quickly moves to sight, where even the skies seem bluer. It is the smell of birth.

Dirt. This one is less obvious. However, if you ever plowed a field, you know what I am talking about. You can smell the freshly turned soil. It is a time of planting and new growth; it is the smell of preparing for a productive life.

Rain. There is nothing like the smell of the prairie after a cool, drenching rain. The air is so clean! It is a refreshing, replenishing time, but also one in which the drops enable growth. The smell of renewal and regeneration – a fresh life advancing or an older life rekindling.

Harvest. In the Midwest, harvest time is getting underway. The smells are of dust, lots of dust. Blowing dust, harvested dust, whirlwinds of dust… everywhere. It is a busy time, a dirty time. It is a time of hard work, of reaping what was planted. It is the smell of a producing life – getting your hands dirty, gathering the results, realizing the achievements.

We see life unfold; we hear the sounds as well. We may miss the subtle smells of life and what it brings. I guess maybe that was the thought from the line about taking time to smell the roses.

At times, some of us “smell up” our lives and then try to cover it up with commercial scents or go scent-to-scent with no real purpose. Some of us breathe in deeply, knowing where we are; as we exhale, we always try to do our best with the time we have.

Whether it is a season or one of life’s smells, there are signals in our lives, waking us to the time we are presently in and maybe a thought of what is coming.

We need to take our cues and always strive to do our best, no matter which smell is upon us!