One of the joys of motorcycling is the closeness to your surroundings: you have a full sky overhead, the landscape is a complete panorama, uninterrupted by metal pillars — and you can smell so much. It’s not always good, of course (do I detect the piquant bouquet of freshly flattened polecat?) You catch quick samples of a driver’s cigarette, a passing diesel’s too-rich mix, a woman’s overpowering perfume, stale burger-joint stench.
But when it’s good, it’s wonderful, at least here in the South.
There’s freshly-turned earth and new-mown lawn this morning. There’s delicate wisteria in late March/early April: it’s not strong, and if you really want to wallow in it, you have to park the bike and stick your face in one of the lavendar bunches. Soon there will be magnolia (also a park-and-smell experience). But right now, in early May, might be the best. On my morning ride, I drank in the rich drafts of honeysuckle, blooming in huge stands beside the country roads. Wave after wave; I never get tired of it. No dismounting necessary — it hangs in the air, heavy and sweet, almost visible.