Smelling the past...
Sometimes, you’re cruising through life thinking you’re fine and WHAM! grief hits you out of nowhere and knocks you to your knees.
Like when someone you’ve just met tells you how fondly your (recently deceased) Grandfather spoke of you.
Or when, on the very same day, you walk into an old barn and smell your past.
We went to an estate sale yesterday morning with a small red, pitched roof barn on the property. I came out of the main house with an armload of beautiful hand-embroidered linens and some funky shot glasses. As Carrie, the lovely sale host grabbed them from me in order to “start a pile” my husband Robin called to me from the barn out back. “Cara…”, he yelled out. “Coming!” I replied.
He’d found a cool old barnwood box which he’d already set aside but also wanted to show me a disassembled wooden windmill that he thought I’d like. Truth is, I didn’t even really look at the windmill leaning up against the building because the second I approached the barn entrance, my olfactory senses took over and I was literally, led by the nose, inside.
“Oh…it smells so good in here”, I think I murmured, tears instantly flooding my eyes. My entire childhood flashed before me. Hot summer days on my Grandparents’ farm. Taking momentary solace and chancing a rodent or snake encounter just to escape the heat for a second in the cool, musky shop. That Mickey Mouse-eared rat on two legs staring back at me that one day. Both of us simultaneously fascinated and terrified by the other.
If you’ve even been in a part machine shop-part farm barn, then you likely know exactly of which smell I speak. If you haven’t – it’s dank and oily – but honest. Slight hue of hay bale. It smells like hard work. Like fresh cut grass and hand-pulled weeds but also like dirt and dampness. It was dark, as it should’ve been, adding to the mystique of what un-buried treasures lie inside. But I may as well have been blind. I couldn’t see, I could no longer speak for the fear that my welling eyes would turn into audible sobbing. All I could do is stand still and inhale the goodness that has been missing from my life for so long.
In those brief moments, my Papa and Grannie, gone over 20 years now, died too soon all over again. And, the sorrow of losing my last Grandparent, a few months ago, was fresh and palpable.
I woke up today, still tired and a little broken but so very grateful for the gift I’d been given. Like dreaming of a lost loved one and being lucky enough to hear their voice in your sleep, smelling the past granted me sweet recollections that had been hiding beneath the details of my hurried life.
Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.
You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days.
On Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels!
On other days I'm other things.
On Bright Blue Days I flap my wings.
Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down.
Then comes a Yellow Day and Wheeee!
I am a busy, buzzy bee.
Gray Day....Everything is gray.
I watch. But nothing moves today.
Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal!
On my Orange Days that's how I feel.
Green Days. Deep deep in the sea.
Cool and quiet fish. That's me.
On Purple Days I'm sad. I groan.
I drag my tail. I walk alone.
But when my days are Happy Pink
it's great to jump and just not think.
Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud.
I howl. I growl at every cloud.
Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And WHAM!
I don't know who or what I am!
But it all turns out all right, you see.
And I go back to being...ME. -Dr. Seuss