Would that I could upload the scent of balsam online and you could all smell it. Or, you could go to Columbus Avenue between 79th and 80th and walk through the corridor of trees, and you could sit on the bench and breathe in the wafting pine for yourself.
Balsam is my deepest comfort smell. I grew up with a balsam stuffed calico kitty that I tucked in with every single night until it broke apart at the neck. By then I was old enough to go get my own replacement, and I did. By the time that one broke apart, I started sewing pretty bags stuffed with balsam. This time of year in New York, when the street corners are filled with trees, brings flashes of my deepest comfort smell right into the city—only surpassed by early January when the trees get recycled, ground up, and spread all over Prospect Park, and the entire park smells like my childhood.