Tonight I walked out of the office and breathed in deep the smell of a clear warm night full of restaurant exhaust and car fumes. It is that smell, that city smell, and it transported me to a place on a map. It brought me to a house in a city where 99cent pizzas and sour watermelons were my manna and that smell permeated everything but the smell of my unwashed dishes; where my interests became action; where discussions on couches or in classrooms felt like changing the world because changing the world was at our fingertips; where love was budding and community was blooming and even exhaustion felt like hope and joy because of the people around me.
It's the same way that the smell of fresh baked sandwich bread instantly takes me to a place on a map with sparkling winters and smiling faces. A place on a map that is also a place in my heart, that to me is the warmth of sunlight and the safety of childhood. Where a crisp Sunday afternoon with a beer brat and the Packer game is perfection; where the hot chocolate and scarves and fire places make me feel almost as safe as the entire town of people who all seem to know my name.
And it's funny how these places on a map look no different to the wanderers passing through and marking them off their triptik or GPS. Each holds its own struggles and failures on the timeline of my story. But something about their scent brings only memories that are worth holding on to and brings them so vividly to the forefront of my mind...
I wonder what the scent of this place will bring when I someday travel away from this place.