I remember when I lived in Minnesota and used to walk to work. There was a parking lot in the middle of Minneapolis that I managed to cross every single day, just because I could smell the new pavement and I knew it reminded me of something--something near to my heart, but something I couldn't put a finger on. Day after day, through the hot sun, I would trudge across the lot, inhaling deeply, trying to drown out the smell of exhaust and city and focus solely on that one olfactory memory. Months went by. One day, in the middle of the parking lot, something changed. I'm not sure if it was the clanging of a bus that sounded like another form of transportation, if it was the hot spring wind blowing on me reminding me of summer days, or if my memory simply decided to disclose this delicious secret, but I knew... I was smelling the tar from the pavement baking in the sun, reminding me of days as a toddler spent around the docks on our sailboat. I was smelling the creosote on the wood of those docks and it was reassuring, familiar... HOME.
I hadn't been on a sailboat since I was little. Obviously not recently enough to recognize the smell. But the memory it evoked... THAT was still real, still present.
There are many smells out there that bring me HOME like that tar smell did... The smell of rain. Hay and llamas. Blackberry blossoms at the first hint of summer. When I catch the scent of these, I physically stop and inhale... I let my body absorb the emotion associated with them.
The last few weeks, as I walk out of my new workplace, I pause. I don't smell the damp air like I did in