When I’m out walking in the park and out of human proximity, I take off my mask and breath. I am always surprised by the intense fragrances around me — peonies, roses, lilacs… —unnoticed when wearing the prohibitive barrier. Wearing a mask has proven itself to be another kind of lockdown: of the sense of smell.

Right now, and for about a week, I am covertly enjoying the sublime scent of linden. The delicate, intensely fragrant flowers are in bloom on the tree also known as Tilia, lime, bee tree or basswood that grows in temperate regions of the country.

Sally Schneider

I first had linden in France in the form of tilleul, the famously calming tea that the French love. In less fraught times, I picked and dried my own.

Sally Schneider

No matter, the basking in Linden’s fragrance is a week’s worth of joy, a gift in a strange time.

Sally Schneider

It is worth stopping and just…breathing in a scent that defies everything that is going on in the world.

Linden Passage by the Metropolitan Museum, 2019 Sally Schneider

And if you want the scent of linden year-round, enjoy it as a calming tea, or fragrant soap.

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