THIRTEEN WAYS TO SMELL A TREE takes you on a journey to connect with trees through the sense most aligned to our emotions and memories.
THIRTEEN WAYS TO SMELL A TREE
by David George Haskell
Octopus UK/Viking US, October 2021
(via The Martell Agency)
Thirteen essays are included that explore the evocative scents of trees, from the smell of a book just printed as you first open its pages, to the calming scent of Linden blossom, to the ingredients of a particularly good gin & tonic. In your hand: a highball glass, beaded with cool moisture. In your nose: the aromatic embodiment of globalized trade. The spikey, herbal odour of European juniper berries. A tang of lime juice from a tree descended from wild progenitors in the foothills of the Himalayas. Bitter quinine, from the bark of the South American cinchona tree, spritzed into your nostrils by the pop of sparkling tonic water. Take a sip, feel the aroma and taste of three continents converge.
Each essay also contains a practice the reader is invited to experience. For example, taking a tree inventory of our own home, appreciating just how many things around us came from trees. And if you’ve ever hugged a tree when no one was looking, try breathing in the scents of different trees that live near you, the smell of pine after the rain, the refreshing, mind-clearing scent of a eucalyptus leaf crushed in your hand.
British-born biologist, award-winning author and celebrated academic David George Haskell’s work integrates scientific, literary and contemplative studies of the natural world. Haskell holds degrees from the University of Oxford (BA) and from Cornell University (PhD). He is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of the South, where he served as Chair of Biology. His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Wildlife Fund among others. He serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups. His previous books include The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors and The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature.