Saturday, April 23, 2011

The night smells happy

I love Spring.  It smells so good.  It’s as though the Earth comes alive not just in plants, but in odors.  Fresh cut grass.  Grills lighting for the first time.  Bubbles and sidewalk chalk.  They have a smell.  It’s a happy smell.  The smell of laughter.  Driving in Memphis on any Spring night, I smell all of these.  And it sends a calm through me.  Down to my toes.  It is the smell of the South.  All across the southeastern United States it’s as though Spring unlocks prisons.  People emerge into the sunlight.  Sure the sun was out during the winter, but not quite like the Spring sun.  And the smell of lawn mowers, hot dogs on the grill, and life emerging from winter.  Birds herald Spring.  And it’s visually obvious.  But for me it’s the smells.  I’m a smell person.

Smells have memories.  And never memories that make sense.  Freshly dug Earth reminds me of sweet tea with lemon.  My mom always had a glass if sweet tea with lemon when she worked in the yard.  Sautéing onions remind me of table forts.  My grandmother always cooked spaghetti when my cousins were visiting, and we always built a fort with the kitchen table and quilts while she cooked.  I always have a memory with a smell. Jelly beans and Peeps remind me of my Great Uncle L.S.  He was always so well dressed on Easter at my grandmother’s house.  Three-piece-suit nice.  He and my Great Aunt Lorraine always dressed overly nice on Easter.  It was always “look, we have money” nice too.  Bright pink lipstick nice.  Jelly bean smelling nice. 

Now I’m making new smell memories.  Slowly the new ones replace the old ones.  Candy corn no longer makes me think of face planting on the tile floor at McDonalds.  (We always went there after trick-or-treating and one year I fell off a stool and hit the floor, smearing my clown make up all over the tile).  Now I think of my kids and my best friends and their kids having fun going door to door at Halloween and getting SO frustrated they have to wait for their little brother.  Breakfast sausage is losing its memory of Sunday mornings and being replaced with family breakfast on the weekends with my kids.  But cigarette smoke – that’s always going to be the beach for me.  Playing in the sand while my mom sat under the umbrella reading and my dad stood in the water making sure we always came back up.  Someone near us was smoking.  Every summer.  I hope my kids have smell memories.  Good smell memories.  I hope that when they are all grown up they stop on a Spring night and say “this night smells so good” and think of a million great things we did this year.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know why, but this brought tears (happy ones) to my eyes.. I love you!