It’s one of those things-good intentions. I had my good intentions all sorted out, organized and packed for our trip. I was far ahead of my thinking game having drafted some posts and jotted ideas for posting while on our little vacation. Then my boys and I set off on our little road trip with my mom on board (Mr. Rice and Beans is holding down the home front and thankfully doing a mighty fine job of it! We wish he were with us but there’s that crazy breadwinner thing he does so he kissed us happily and waved us on our way). We decided to wind on down the road a little and visit some family my boys and I hadn’t seen in a while and get out of the desert heat for a bit. I’d planned on continuing to blog for the most part, but my best intentions have been waylaid by the reality of being away from the regular daily grind (Imagine that!) I found myself wondering what kinds of Rice and Beans Life thoughts I could share when my mind and heart are off wandering at will and I’m chasing my boys and playing and having a good old time. This is when I remembered that I’d recently run across an interesting post by Gretchen Rubin on her blog for The Happiness Project. She’d recently posted about her current passion for scent. She’s enamored of perfumes and cultivating good smells and she wondered if that were a worthy thing to be enamored of. Some commenters didn’t really think so but I did.
You see, the sense of smell is a funny thing. It can take me back to a pinpoint moment in time instantaneously. The aroma of bacon and of rice and beans puts me in my grandma’s kitchen faster than just about anything else. This scent will bring upon me a sudden longing for the sweet, soft Louisiana drawl of the woman who engulfed me in her love. And though I will never have that earthly experience again, those smells can make me lean my head to the side and close my eyes and be in her lap or holding her hand or snuggled up beside her in all the ways I loved so dearly and make me miss her so much yet bring me such deep and true happiness for having had those moments in my life. The sense of smell can be that strong.
As we travelled along down the highway, my boys and my mom and me, we passed fields and orchards and plenty of cows. My oldest wanted to know what the heck that smell was and wrinkled his nose up when we told him “cows.” We drove through cities that I had lived in when I was a younger woman and I purposefully inhaled when I got out of the car when we stopped for a short break. I found it remarkable to be transported by the smell of landscaping and asphalt, smog and heat with a hint of ocean wetness in the background. It was summer in that city, sweet yet undeniably urban. I smiled. I was 18 again. As we travelled on toward my hometown I knew I would soon open the window to smells of my childhood. When I opened my car door outside my parents house in the town I grew up in I was ten years old for an instant, riding my bike down an old country road. The smell of earth and orchard, heat and sage, cut grass and something undefinable yet peculiarly home had my heart hurtling back in time. Smell does this to me.
I don’t know if other people have this experience necessarily or if it’s just the “dog nose” I was left with from giving birth to two rambunctious boys. Maybe it’s that I have left so many homes behind and been too many places so I notice it more, the simple scent of a place. But my sense of smell carries me. It connects me and transports me to times and places long gone by. It takes me vividly down a path that, when I close my eyes in that moment, is much like watching a movie of the life I once lived. It’s remarkable. It brings me a sweet sadness and a happy gratefulness for those times and for the fact that I can, in this way, have them back, however briefly. Just a whiff and I’m riding on the breath of my past. I wonder if my boys will be so lucky and I wonder what smells will carry them. That is the power of scent. It is simple. Rice and beans kind of simple. Take you home again kind of simple. It makes me infinitely happy. And anything that brings infinite happiness is worth sharing.
So how about you? Does smell take you back in an instant? Or is it another of your senses? Does it stop you in your tracks? Does it tug at your heart? Share your thoughts or the smells that carry you back in the Comments.
As a side note know that I’m still around. I’ll be posting a little irregularly for the rest of this month as we follow our bliss a little bit, but September should find me back to my regular posting schedule again.