When I walked out of the office building on my lunch break today, the smell of rain hit me. The downpour had already stopped, but the scent lingered in the air. Fresh and new and clean. With a bizarre reaction that begets proof that yes, social media consumes my mind too often, I thought, "Wow, I should share this.”
Then I remembered scents can’t be shared on social media. Oh yeah. Duh.
And I kind of love that.
I love that this experience of the senses— the stepping out from the stale of the inside and smelling the fresh of the outside—was not, could not, be translated via my phone. The mixed perfume of damp tree bark and quenched grass and nature’s water was mine for my nostrils. I inhaled, breathing it all in. Staying present.
I walked toward my car. The concrete was darker gray from the rain. Puddles were perched in potholes. Michigan was ringing out its mitten and welcoming spring.
Spring. My favorite.
After months and months of offensive gray and cold and snow and ice, the flower-adorned, sunshine-kissed season decided to come back once more. Here in Michigan, she always keeps us waiting.
It’s pretty annoying.
For months, we sat and stared out the window like eager puppies at the door. But now it’s time for our feet to tippy-tap with excitement. Wag our tails a little.
Most people who live in the Midwest love autumn. And I get why fall is a fan-favorite: the cider, the apples, the leaves bursting in shades of burgundy and gold and amber. Don't get me wrong, I like fall. But I love spring.
My reasons are many.
The symbolism, for one. The fact that the world is coming back to life again. Starting anew. Growing again after the long and harsh and difficult.
The world gets turned up a notch. The colors are brighter. The season’s soundtrack is louder & more upbeat than the quiet, temperamental winter. Birds are chirping, frogs are singing (one of my all-time favorite sounds), baseball bats are cracking against a fast-pitch. Lawn mowers buzzing, grills sizzling, tennis shoes thumping across the dirt road. LIFE is being lived. ~insert hippie vibes here~
Memories. That’s another reason I love spring. It’s funny how memories are linked to scents, which are linked to seasons. When I smelled the aftermath of the downpour today, I instantly thought of rain-soaked high school track meets. It’s been over ten years since I ran in a track meet, but sometimes the images are as clear as the real thing: I smell the rain and grass, so I see my blue and silver spikes. The hurdles standing before me. The brown leather seats sticking to my legs on bus rides. The cool of the glass against my forehead.
When I smell charcoal, I see my dad standing over our small round grill in the driveway of my childhood home at the dead end road.
I smell roses and I remember corsages and pink prom dresses and dance recitals at the Dow Event Center before it was called the Dow Event Center. Popcorn and hot dogs and beer waft near my nostrils and I’m back at a Detroit Tigers game and watching my little brother in little league.
A smell can anchor you. The nostalgic scent of your parents’ house, or your cousin's Love's Baby Soft perfume, or fresh gardening dirt. And in a way, scents are just as tangible as the photos we take.
My husband and I always say, “Good things happen in the spring.” So I cross my fingers and say goodbye to winter. Let the good times come. Let the growth happen. Let the rain fall…and may us soak it up. Every drop. Every smell…and hook a memory in its heart and hold on.