The tree service came and cut down 3 black birch trees. Black birches look very much like cherry trees. To tell them apart, break a black birch twig, and the scent of wintergreen washes over you. Chew on the little stick, and refresh your breath.
I now have a pile of wood chips that smells like a wintergreen LifeSaver factory. Ahhh.
I use these wood chips for my garden paths. After hauling a dozen garden cart loads, i simply laid down on the brand new wood chip path and breathed in that wonderful aroma.
The sublime emotions that we cultivate in meditation--loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy--each has a "near enemy"--a worldly emotion that looks and feels very similar to the sublime emotion, but it just doesn't "smell" as wonderful.
For instance, the near enemy of compassion is pity. "Oh, those poor people." Pity closes off a little corner of the heart. "There but for the grace of God go I." Whew! I escaped that terrible thing. "My heart goes out to them," (but how about allowing them right into your heart?)
Compassion opens the heart wide--no holds and no bars. Because when we look closely, we can find that other person in ourselves.
The "flavor" of compassion is different from pity. The flavor of loving-kindness is different than attachment. The flavor of appreciative joy is different than the comparing mind that checks to see whether we have more or less, or the same, as others.
Relax into compassion or loving-kindness today, and breathe in their wonder scents.