28 July 2007

Sensational Summer

For some reason I have had a lot of thoughts about nostalgia and the many different smells, tastes, sounds, etc that remind me of things in my life. It is strange how the very smell of the morning in the fall can evoke a sudden longing for school books and bus rides along windy country roads. Likewise, the pungent smell of manure, although not too pleasant, can remind me of driving to and from my childhood home. As an adult, the days and months pass so quickly. Often it is not necessarily attempting to gain some moment or capture it but the inadvertent happenings that help you to stop and think about your life. For me lately, it has been the senses. Smells, sounds and other things have helped me to reflect on my life, slow down and enjoy the smallest details and appreciate all that God has given to us.

The smell of coffee makes me think of all the mugs that I've served to my husband helping him get ready for work in the early morning hours. It also reminds me of taking road trips. Whenever we pack up our car, we always make sure that we have music to listen to, water bottles and a fresh cup of coffee each.

Workshops always remind me of my husband today (he is a woodworker) and my Dad's shop when I was growing up. I loved to try to do woodworking projects like sanding things and cutting them. I didn't know what I was doing but it seemed fun and important. With more power to wield a hammer and more expertise in woodworking, I still enjoy the crisp smells of freshly cut wood.

Washing dishes for me is a love/hate relationship. Since we live in a small house, we decided not to install a dishwasher because our kitchen was so small. Although I often dream of simply putting the dishes in a dishwasher after a meal, I sort of enjoy the ritual of washing them. My husband and I often wash and rinse together. The time is spent together talking, usually in the early morning hours. Sometimes it is quiet and we can hear only the sounds of the water trickling but often it is spent watching our cute little puppies play in the backyard or watching the sun come up.

The smell of air. Of course there are many nostalgic smells for me. I find (and know from psychology) that the sense of smell can be the most important in triggering memories. One of the strangest to me is the smell of the air. After rain, there can be two distinct smells depending on if you are in town or in the country. If you are in town, the warm smell of asphalt being washed by the rain fills your nostrils; if you live in the country the aroma of dirt being gently wet with raindrops can feel quite calming. Early spring or late fall for me have a distinct smell also. The air is cool and crisp, almost a little bit startling but it carries a slight warmth to it in the wind. It is a reminder that the summer is either coming/going and that the new season is being ushered in.

Life can be so busy and complicated. It can be stressful and hectic. Often times there is nothing that you can instantly do to change the pace of life. Instead of stressing out or feeling like you cannot slow time down, reflect on the things that make you happy, the things that bring you joy. Perhaps, like me, they will not be tangible things, like new clothes or cars, but lovely unexpected nostalgia because of driving by a pasture or waking up in the middle of the night and smelling the rain.

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