The aura of fresh cut green grass brings with it a flood of memories:
Summer, warmth, sunshine, freedom from responsibilities, the ice cream man.
Life is good.
This smile on my face, like so many of its predecessors, is proven to be selfish and inappropriate.
It is slapped off my face by my nemesis, knowledge.
More proof that ignorance is bliss.
The effusion of fresh cut grass is the smell of trauma, distress. You are nosing out chemical defense and first aid. When grass is attacked, the chemical compounds it releases, are called green leaf volatiles or GLVs (not fresh cut green grass smell).
Some of the compounds stimulate the formation of new cells at the wound site so it closes faster, and it is the release of its natural antibiotics which protect the exposed grass from bacterial infection and fungal growth.
The grass is also calling out to predatory insects to come and get the violating insects which may be attacking it.
We all ultimately pay a price for this bouquet of fresh cut green grass scent of summer. These compounds are precursors to ozone formation, and also contribute to photochemical smog in urban areas.
So, let’s review the vocabulary I’ve used to explain my favorite summer smell:
Distress, Trauma, Attack, Violating, Wound, Volatile, Ozone, Smog, Predatory, Bacterial Infection, Fungal Growth
“Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.”
Thomas Gray 1742