Saturday, November 8, 2008

Smells Along The Way

Lunenburg County, where I live, is considered the Christmas Tree Capital of the World.  There’s a big sign on the highway to prove it.  Honest.  Apparently, the cool and moist climate here in Nova Scotia is ideal for growing balsam fir trees.  Take a drive anywhere in the region and you’ll run into a Christmas Tree Farm.  Annual exports exceed 3.5 million trees.  That’s a pretty big industry.   

Nova Scotia Balsam Fir trees have become the Christmas tree of choice throughout North America for a few good reasons:  They are lush, fragrant and hold their needles for a long time – even in warmer climates.  Nova Scotia Balsam Fir has become the smell of Christmas.  I smelled it today. 

While out for an easy 5K this morning, I was nearly overcome with the smell of Christmas.  There is a huge Christmas Tree Transfer Station just across the river from my house.  Growers truck their crop to this huge area.  Trees are piled onto 18 wheelers or into shipping containers.  It’s a pretty cool operation.  It sort of caught me by surprise. 

Smell triggers so many things for me and a million memories of Christmas flashed before me on this day.   I was suddenly an adventurous 10 year old boy building a winter woods fort - burrowing into snow beneath the skirt of a huge Balsam Fir.  Wow.  Where did that come from?

Christmas in Nova Scotia is really quite beautiful.   Since 1971, a special tree is chosen each winter to send to the people of Boston to express appreciation for their help during the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion. The explosion on December 9, 1917, was caused by the collision of two ships in Halifax Harbour.  Nearly 2,000 died.  Thousands more were injured. Boston was the first to send relief, offering the services of doctors and nurses, and sending supplies.  So, with great pride we send a huge Christmas tree each year to our friends in Boston, whose outpouring of kindness in 1917 will never be forgotten.

Keep running.  Keep smelling.

Wish my running shoes smelled better.

13 comments:

Brad Braden said...

Its great all the memories that smell can invoke. Christmas is of course always a big one. I have been trying to hold off getting into the egg nog but not sure how much longer I can hold out.

cheers.

Backofpack said...

Nova Scotia, as you describe it, sounds like such a wonderful place filled with vibrant people. Someday...

robtherunner said...

I love those moments when the memories of a day long ago come back and can be relived for a short moment. I learned something new about Nove Scotia. Thanks!

craig said...

You had such a lovely and eloquent post going. Until that last line. :)

I don't know that I've ever seen a balsam fir. Do they ship them this far south? I'll have to look for them.

Darrell said...

What a great show of friendship. We could do with a little more of that these days.

Sonia said...

That's really cool, I was in Lunenburg last September and had no idea!

Anne said...

How cool to inhale Christmas like that. I have to use a Yankee candle!

stepping over the junk said...

aaaaand...we get ours from NS...the big tree....

justrun said...

Definitely something to look forward to...

Alexandra said...

I miss the smell of Nova Scotia at Christmastime! I wish you could attach a scratch and sniff to your blog post!

I love Lunenburg! I will always remember my sail on the Bluenose!

I Run for Fun said...

Hi, I saw your post on Runner's Lounge. I love Christmassy stuff...and the first indicator of Christmas is always the smell!

Novo Scotia reminds me of The Shipping News, which I read a few years ago...I was fascinated and would love to visit someday!

RunnerMom said...

The smell of Christmas is sadly lacking down here in Tennessee! I have never in my life had a live tree. My parents always used an artificial tree and my husband and I do, too. Come on over to my blog or take a minute here to extol the virtues of a live tree---this might be my year to break tradition (or make a new one!)

About a live tree-- aren't they messy with needles falling off? What about watering? Can you use lights on them?

The Boston story was neat. So many years later, you all are still thankful for the help on that terrible day.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, we always had fun at Christmas when we were kids...Hope people can go back to making memories and not just focus the commercial side of the season.

hahaha, you could always put a pine scented air freshener in your shoes! Just Kidding...

Lily

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