On a clear day, you can smell for miles

I had an orthodontist appointment Tuesday morning, the weather was nice, I was in no particular hurry because I was off work, so I rode my bike. Yes, I realize that is less than kind to the folks who have to be close enough to me to look into my mouth, but it is more than kind to my butt and sometimes, compromises must happen. Anyway! After the orthodontist, I rode to the pharmacy to pick up some medication and then I rode home. And I was struck by yet another reason why I so love this time of year: I can smell.

Okay, sure, I can always smell. But this time of year is magical for me when it comes to smelling things. It’s a perfect storm of allergies finally backing off (hay fever kicks me in the nose from mid-March until mid-October) and the humidity all but going away. Delmarva is a really humid place for much of the year, probably because we’re surrounded by pretty major bodies of water. I’m no meteorologist, but that makes sense to me. Anyway! My nose is less stuffy and I am off the allergy meds. The air is crisply dry. And my world once again becomes a map of awesome smells.

The first one that stuck out majorly was the wonderfully yeasty-hoppy smell of the brewery. It reminds me of early days with Wayne, when we were brewing our own beer. It was the first big thing we did as a couple, the first thing that was just us. Hopefully when our lives slow down a bit – when he graduates and the garage is done but the house remodel hasn’t started – we can brew again.

Next was that hot-sweet oil smell from McDonald’s. I am not really on a diet, but there are a lot of things I just choose not to eat. High on the list of things I try to stay away from is anything deep-fried. Occasionally, though, I go all crazy and just want something delicious, hot, and potato-y. Hello, hash browns, in other words. They smell almost divine to me.

One smell that was omnipresent was diesel exhaust. I know it’s not something I should, like, huff, but it’s a memory trigger and I love those. I smell it and my brain shoots out images of my time in the National Guard and I’m playing soldier again. I’m sleeping in a tent with a bunch of other girls. I’m driving the First Sergeant to Fort Dix (good MORNING, First Sergeant!). I’m flying in a helicopter to Fort Indiantown Gap. I’m sneaking out with a bunch of guys from the Det, sidewalk chalk in hand, to decorate Alpha and Bravo company’s deuce-and-a-half’s with all sorts of things that say how awesome HHC is. Yeah, those were some really fun times.

On the ride home, I went a little outside of town and my nose reminded me of what is so awesome about living here. I get to smell a town, and then I get to smell things that just scream “country” to me. Like that aging sweet smell of leaves changing color (yes, they have a smell!), the crisp and Christmasy smell of pine trees, the starchy-sweet smell of a recently harvested corn field, the mild tang of onion from the wild onion plants that are mowed when grass is cut. I find myself sucking air in through my nose and grinning like a fool when I recognize several scents at the same time. It’s like the playing Where’s Waldo, only with my nose.

The very best smells of all, though, are the ones that say “home” to me. Right now, the prevailing outside smell is sawdust from the garage Wayne is rebuilding (I am pretending to help – that’s why I was off work and basking in the freedom from allergies). And of course the very best smell in the whole, wide world is Wayne. I parked my bike in the back yard and went to get a hug. He smells better than hops, more familiar than pine trees, sweeter than puffs of hot dryer exhaust. And I love it. Sometimes, I just lean into him and sniff. It’s awesome. Yes, I know it’s weird, and I don’t care. He says my sense of smell is better than most people’s because it’s making up for my crappy eyesight. I kind of like that idea.

I can smell the eggs he cooked himself for breakfast and it’s making my stomach growl, so I guess it’s time to eat. I wonder what other awesome things I’ll get to smell today? 🙂


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