I am sitting on the swing bench on the front porch - in the dark as it is more peaceful and peaceful is what I am craving right now. Down the street a bit, one of the houses has several plumeria trees in bloom and the smell mingles with the scent of the lime tree blossoms and I am instantly transported back to our house in SoCal.

Smells do that. Of all the senses, I believe smell to be preeminent. No other sense can evoke so many memories and transport us from the here and now to times and places far away.

We played hooky from life the other day. We were supposed to hit the water park but I failed to remember they are closed in the middle of the week so we opted for the zoo instead. I love our zoo here. It is small but intimate and the perfect outing for a single mom with two small children. Not so big that it requires heavy packing. At our zoo, they have a "Volunteer Garden" with many varieties of local plants. Many of the same plants that are found in SoCal and walking through was like going home. The smell of citrus, mint, pomegranate blossoms, strawberries, sage - it was overwhelming. Closing my eyes, I could see my mom and I hiking up in the Hollywood hills with the dogs. I felt like I was 10 again.

I swam the other day - it has literally been years since I swam a decent workout. When I stepped into the shower, the chlorine wafted up and all of a sudden, I was back in high school coming home from practice.

And last night, when the emptiness and loneliness of this house threatened to swallow me up, I went to the closet that holds MacGyver's work clothes and I buried myself in the flight suits hanging there. The aroma of JP8 and transmission fuel is oddly and sweetly comforting. Helps to keep the black holes at bay.

I traveled to Colorado on business last year and the best part of the whole trip (besides the food...can't pass up the food) was stepping out of the car and breathing in the mountain air that I have missed so much for so long. The images and recollections that smell brought back were incredible. And welcome. Craved.

I can look at a picture all day long and relive that one memory. But a smell takes me back to a place and a time.


- hfs

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