Those who passed by my house may have wondered at the laundry basket on my porch with a pillowcase stretched across it. It’s simple, really. I wanted to capture sunshine.
Last night for the briefest of moments, I thought I was sleeping on a pillowcase that had just been brought in from the clothesline. The freshness of that one deep breath in a dream was a scent from my childhood, and not the scent of Bounce fabric softener from the dryer.
This morning I wanted that smell for real, thus the pillowcase on the basket. I left it there for several hours, but the smell didn’t last long. I suspect it was because I put out a dry pillowcase, not a wet one to absorb the sun.
Of all our senses, smell may be the most powerful. It transports us to another time and place.
Think of popcorn in a movie theater. Can’t you smell that just by reading the words? Years ago, when I was reading a story where a character was eating popcorn, I had to get up from my chair and fix some popcorn right that minute.
The smell of freshly mowed grass is one of my favorite smells. Researchers believe that special scent makes us feel more joyful and relaxed. But the grass, which just got injured by the haircut, is releasing a distress signal of volatile organic compounds (VOC) sent through the air as gases. (I wrote an almanac article on that, so I learned this odd bit of information that no one wants to know.) Even aware of the grass’s trauma, I still love that smell.
Opening a new box of crayons and inhaling its perfume sends me back to grade school. I have two boxes (both gifts) in my office, and I open them occasionally for a whiff of pleasure.
Pine scents (but not in cleaners) remind me of a cheerful moment when I came home from grad school at the U of A for Christmas break to find lights on the tree and Mom and a neighbor in a frenzy of making divinity, which takes two mixers growling to make sure the candy sets up right. It’s the smell of home and activity and love.
Antiseptic smells put me in a hospital corridor, too many hospital corridors. That’s the smell of fear.
The musty smell of old books transports me to the county library of my first job, a Saturday gig during my senior year in high school. It was a small library located in the basement of an old building. Mostly country folks came in on their weekly trip to town for groceries and supplies. Town people used the city library.
On a morning with heavy dew, there’s a spot on my walk, down in a valley with thick vegetation, where an earthy muskiness takes me back to Aunt Punch’s farm and hurrying to the milk barn at dawn.
Smells take us back in our memories. What are some of your favorites?
Ghosts and Sabotage–Although she loves her job at the Abilene Texas Tourist Bureau, Abby Kane sees her life as rather uneventful. Then the movie company comes to town to film on location at Fort Phantom Hill. Hired to help screenwriter Rob Vincent make sure the script is historically accurate, she falls under the spell of movie excitement and is enchanted with Rob. But someone is trying to sabotage the filming, hiding a deep secret at the fort. And she’s hiding a secret of her own.
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- September: Capturing Sunshine
- August: Baseball’s Return
- July: They Bug Me
- June: Coincidence or Mysterious Connection?
- May: Spontaneity
- April: The Paints on the Wall
- March: The Signature Sandwich
- February: The Dream Catcher
- January: A Random Act of Kindness
- December: Raking the Leaves
- November: Reflections in the Mirror
- October: Pioneer Woman
- September: Rewinding
- August: The Last One
- July: Nice People
- June: Jeopardy
- May: Playing
- April: Seeing the World
- March: The Signature
- February: So I Went
- January: NOW do it
- December: Eureka!
- November: Morning Ritual
- October: The Hard Part
- September: Walking in the Dark
- August: Old is New Again
- July: Change Orders
- June: Country Songs
- May: Scars
- April: This Old Place
- March: Wearing a Robe
- February: A New Adventure
- January: Another Year
- December: Beginning a Hiatus
- November: A Name
- October: Of Course, I’ll Use the Grand Canyon or How I Spent My Summer Vacation
- September: I Packed Courage, Too
- August: Nothing Dangles From My Rearview Mirror
- July: Grandma Brown’s Desk
- June: Old Paint
- May: Dandelion Yellow
- April: Cleaning Out Our Past
- March: The Flames of Cheer
- February: The Color of Oklahoma
- January: Former Cars
- December: The Stocking Conundrum
- November: Comfort from a Cup of Tea
- October: A Friendly Wave
- September: Why Are First Memories Bad Ones?
- August: How to Treat a New Widow
- July: My Outrage or A Warning to Women
- June: Rock Collections
- May: May Baskets
- April: Screen Doors
- March: Hiraeth
- February: My New Key
- January: My Book Clubs
- December: The Real Santa
- November: Mrs. Coker’s Lamp
- October: Life’s A Holiday
- September: School Reunions, a.k.a. Looking Forward to the Past
- August: Risk
- July: Old Shoes
- June: The Ant Invasion
- May: Goodbye to the Sailboat
- April: A Rant
- March: Sharing Joy,
- February: On Reading Aloud
- January: The Lesson of Chicken Pot Pie
- December: The Scent of Christmas
- November: Life Markers
- October: Forgiving Myself
- September: I Won’t Change It
- August: Back in Time and Looking Forward
- July: Changes
- June: The Napkin Controversy
- May: On Being Overwhelmed
- April: A Time for Everything
- March: Washing the Car
- February: Drowning
- January: Who Will Live in My House?
- December: The Recipe on the Refrigerator
- November: The Lean
October: Washing Windows
September: Memories of Music
August: Leap Before You Look
May: The Hidden Garden
April: The Day Before April
March: My Favorite
February: The Safety Net
January: The Friendship House
- December: Do I Have a Small Mind?
- November: The Wonders Around Us
- October: Gaining Knowledge
- September: Respecting Others’ Beliefs