Intentional Observation: The scent of harvest on the prairie

“Here was the smell for her — a blend of many smells surrounded by the cold smell of the air itself.

Cameraphone capture of a corn field near Aurora, Nebraska.

The silk had a smell, and so did the husks, the bruised stalks, the hard ripe corn kernels, and the chaffy cobs. And there was the smell of the horses too, and a trace of smoke from some distant outdoor wood fire — somebody perhaps was rendering lard, feasting on cracklings.

The compound fragrance meant the complex thing that excited her so much, even though she could not have said why she was excited. This fragrance signified the rush of the harvests and the sun hurrying winter and the winter hurrying the people, and the mystifyingly close connections of so many disparate things . . . the smell of the field was the smell of being alive. ”

About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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