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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Olfaction of the Ozarks

As a teacher at a small school, I am expected to clean my room along with my teaching duties.  I actually crave this time as I slide my headphones on and think thoughts interrupted.  Today as I was using a dry-vac with a long extension, I smelled the motor running.  The smell was that of the gym floor at the old high school in my hometown.  My thoughts roamed the old halls with the trophy cases wrapped in dated hardwood and mopped floors.  I fondly remembered dressing in the locker room for basketball practice with my knobby shoulders awkwardly jutting out from my practice tank.  Old faces of friends and memories of laughter crowded around the idea that I truly missed the days of theater practice, lunches of a cheeseburger smothered in mayo and smashed cheetos inside the bun, and the overwhelming feeling that my youth would never  forsake me.  And above all, I remembered a corner of  the street where I rode my bike in Autumn with the leaves dancing above my head and getting caught in the spokes of my tires.

As I still assimilate myself to the smells of rice, kimchi, and empty soju bottles, I'm content to let my mind wander the brilliant smell of freshly clipped grass.  As I stand on the eighth floor of my building and look at the small mountains with Buddhist temples overlooking the hustle of my Korean city, I walk the paths of Garrison Spring and smell the smoke of cheap, blueberry cigars alongside the conversation of a dear friend.  I feel the low water running around my ankles as I gingerly walk across the brook over to my niece dressed in her pink bathing suit and sunglasses the size for a doll to feed her another handful of dissolving Skittles while the color of red and yellow sugar runs down my arm and swirls down the stream.  I smell the musk of my Grandfather Irving's plaid shirt tucked in his blue jeans and laundry out of the dryer with the sweetest blanket odor of fabric sheets that billowed out the back room attached to an old, white house in downtown Ozark.  

Thanks for letting me share my nose with you.  Cheers