Cut grass is a time machine. I am suddenly running across the back yard in my little white cotton dress embroidered with yellow daisies. The grass is freshly mowed and my toes can feel the delicious dampness of the cuttings. My feet are tinged green. I leap upon the cement patio and continue my pell-mell run to only leap off the other side next to the hydrangea bush with its large bluish flowers and lazy humming bees. I jump with my arms wide and ponytails swinging and land in quick fall and roll only to come instantly to my feet and continue my run. I don’t remember where to I am running. I only remember the joy and effortless movement of my young body. The exhilaration of that moment suspended in the air before the tuck and roll. All in an instant from cut grass.
Tar. The paved black tar of a driveway or parking lot. I smell that tar on a perfect summer day. The sky clear and brilliant blue. No humidity or breeze. Just the summer perfection of memory. And I am instantly back at my teenage job working games at Kings Island. I am winding my way through the park from the employee locker room behind the stores where the metal behemoth dumpsters smell of excess. Under and around rides with shrieking visitors. The trees cast shadows as I duck down hidden alleys and walkways so we, the employees, are not seen by the guests. Each and every path paved with tar. Smelling of tar. I am thin, strong with waist-length blonde hair and bright green eyes. My life is ahead of me and I turn heads as I walk. My future is not written and I unspoiled by bad choices. I am fierce and fresh when I smell tar.
Ivory soap. The soap that floats. Every bath, shower, and experience in cleanliness begins and ends with Ivory soap. My entire life has been washed clean by Ivory soap. The smell of ivory is the smell of my Mom. That faint smell of soap when she enfolds me from behind and her upper arm grazes my nose. Her tall figure bending down to squeeze my small frame. The smell of ivory is the smell of my children when they emerge from the encompassing towel and naked they leap into my arms to be carried to their rooms and dressed in soft, warm pajamas. After a long hot shower to ease my pain, I smell faintly of ivory. That constant smell of cleanliness, purity, and new beginnings.
Beer. One whiff of beer and I am seated on the wide swing with my grandfather. He sits next to me; a man of few words. In his hand, he dangles a bottle of cheap beer as his feet push the swing. We sit companionably together facing the road and watching the traffic. The tree that dangles the swing arches over us offering complete shade. Slowly we move forward and back as he sips his beer. His shirt is the green/brown plaid of a hard day's work. His jeans well worn and marked by grease. I sit next to him in my hand-me-down shorts and t-shirts afraid to speak to a man who feels larger than life. I am small. He is large. When he speaks, everyone pauses to listen. He offers his words carefully like change counted out exactly. Each syllable calculated. Beer is a constant connection to his hand. A smell ever associated with a man who still remains that silent giant.
Pine. Not a Christmas tree pine but the smell of deep pine forest with soft piles of needles covering the floor. Pine is the smell that erects tents and campers with the long row of campsites. Pine means freedom and relaxation. My parents feel easy and happy in the forest away from daily clocks and traffic. My father smiles more and his time is ours. His time belongs to us as we swirl around him in endless games of tag. His smile cracks his face wide as he snags me and pulls me up to sit in the crook of his arm. He strides along taking me to fetch water. Just the two of us. Ten minutes with my dad alone. In a forest of pine.
About the Creator
Author, mother, grandmother, and former teacher - Annie Taylor has three decades of writing in a variety of forms. She has written manuals, speeches, books, and sales brochures. Annie travels the US in her RV obsessively writing.