Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail; a Book About Writing Among Other Things has NOT been a disappointment. It is a delight even after thirty years. I thought I would review it for you, but alas! It is out of print, and the only used copy available on Amazon costs $50! So check your public library for this book that inspires young people to look at life in new ways and get their vision down in words.
My favorite smell list starts with sheets on the line, wood smoke and fresh cut grass. After listing several other things, I wondered why roses and lilacs were nowhere near the top of my list. They are wonderful smells in themselves, but they don’t evoke the same powerful memories as the other things I had listed. (Maybe if I had received flowers more often…) Experts tell us that smell is the most powerful sense of all. It reaches back into earliest infancy and evokes the emotions of the moments associated with it.
After I turned out the light, I found myself wondering why I love the smell of fresh-cut grass so much. A picture of the lot where my father’s house has stood for nearly fifty years came to mind. He must have bought the lot about 1960. A man in our church was dividing up his family farm and selling off lots. Most were bought by people in the church, so we all knew each other even before the houses were built.
My father was determined that his lot not be an eyesore in the new community, so every summer Saturday until we built our own house, my mother packed a picnic lunch, and we went to the lot to mow the grass. Several of our future neighbors did the same, and some soon moved in, so there were always children to play with. My father used to cut us a fox-and-geese track and then go mow the rest of the two-thirds acres before he came back to obliterate our game. I remember climbing trees, building forts in the high grass of the unsold, and therefore unmown, lot next door, exploring the tiny strip of woods and finding wild strawberries at the end of the road. Every Memorial Day we had a neighborhood picnic, a tradition that continued even after the houses were built and that great expanse of meadow grass was divided into ordinary suburban yards.
I would love to hear your favorite (or most detested) smells and what you associate with them.