An advertisement for a writer's retreat.

Walking the dog for several early morning miles allows the mind to wander along little-used pathways of thought and to raise questions that wouldn’t ordinarily occur.

This morning, for example, as I trailed behind our forever-curious canine, I wondered what it would be like to smell in color. That’s about the only way I can imagine the difference in the way humans process odors good and bad, and the way dogs and other animals make sense of scents.

Banjo runs with his nose to the ground, sometimes so close that his lower lip (normally black) is rubbed to a fresh pink. He pauses over every spot that’s been visited by another dog, goes haywire when we pass a deer or rabbit track, and examines every flattened frog or wounded moth that we pass. When we meet another walker, with or without dogs of their own, he strains at the retractable leash even after they have passed, and when released he sprints to their former path and sniffs deeply of their fading fragrance.

I’m confident the mutt could identify any one of 50 neighborhood dogs and as many people by scent alone.

What would it be like to smell in techniodor, as dogs do? Would the redolence of things we like show up in bright primary colors of red, yellow, and blue? Would the stench of rotten fish or dirty diapers appear as dingy brown clouds? Would the scent of a loved one show up in shades of fuschia or rose, cyan or teal? Would the bouquet of morning be emerald and jade?

I don’t know: God didn’t give me the nose of a dog or the ability to converse with one on the subject of scent. The schnoz that I have serves up a sensory spectrum more than sufficient for my needs, and I’m grateful for it.

If I should still wonder what color bacon smells, it doesn’t mean I’m high on anything other than curiosity, but I consider that a gift, as well.

[Art from noveltysaddlepad.com]

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