Friday 18 October 2013

A Pile Of Leaves

In last nights blog I talked about burning leaves in the fall, and how the smell of leaves burning would signify autumn to me. It still does, and I suppose that it always will.

Smells can act as markers for memories. You just need to get a scent from the past and it takes you back in an instant. I can remember the smell of my dad when he was sick. More like the smell that was in the room when he was sick. I can’t remember ever going up to dad when he was sick and taking a big whiff. I know I didn’t do that because I have never had my jaw wired shut and my front teeth still belong to me.

When I was delivering mail, I would often have an item that needed a signature and the people would open the door to sign my sheet and inadvertently allow me to smell their house. More than a few times I came across a home that smelled like Mike’s house used to smell. Mike was my next door neighbour and we grew up together, splitting our time between his house and mine. I can’t place what the house smell was or what went into the smell, but I sure know it when I smell it.

My other friend’s houses had smells, but it was Mike’s place that I knew best and what comes back to me. Most homes smell of the foods that they cook or if they smoke, there is the stale smell of burning tobacco. I can do without the smell of those burning leaves.

I don’t know what my place smells of, because I am just too close to it. I guess if I had tried, I would have been able to get the smell of mom and dad’s place after I had moved out, but I wasn’t even thinking about it back then. I guess it smelled of safety and comfort, the smell of home, even though it was no longer my home.

Tonight, Hurricane and Tornado dropped by and I had a big pile of leaves for them to play in. They ran through the leaves, dove into them, I buried them in leaves and they tossed them into the air and watched them fall all around them. I guess there are some things that are more fun for kids than a pile of leaves, but I can’t for the life of me think of what it would be.

Maybe the next time I smell the dry, earthy smell of a pile of leaves, I will recall the joy two little boys found in something as simple as a pile f leaves.

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