I wrote recently about the sounds of my new home, how the wail of the train is a new song. It smells different here, too, and I thought I'd share some of the smells with you before I become inured to them.
- Oh, you know this one had to be first. Barbecue. Drive around Kansas City on a Saturday night with the windows open and all you can smell is the sweet, smokey, rich scent of people eating, drinking, laughing and striving for a good time. Frankly, it's a little stunning how the whole place smells like a cook out.
- And on the other end of the spectrum, sewage. The sewers here must not run as deep, because standing near a street drain often carries with it a whiff of human waste. It's not overwhelming, but it's there and reminds me that while our own shit is inescapable I don't need to stand there and wallow in it.
- My street smells like sycamore trees, sweet and spicy. I love sycamores (aka plane trees). They have such a distinctive scent, I used to collect their leaves and stuff pillows with them.
- Fresh water. Kansas City is a pretty dry place, but there are hundreds of fountains and two rivers. In Massachusetts we'd get whiffs of marsh and salt water. Here, I smell fresh water.
- Smoking regulations vary state-by-state and are more relaxed here than back east, so I often smell cigarette smoke. While I can't say it's my favorite smell, it does remind me of younger days when clubs smelled of smoke and I wrote poetry about the ways we obscure ourselves with ash and embers.
- Lastly, my house is starting to smell of spices and books, the way my old home did. I walk in the kitchen door and smell hints of curry and garlic, cinnamon and tea. The stairways smell like the old books shelved there. The craft room has the faint scent of sandalwood incense. It is, finally, smelling like home.
(c)2013 Laura S. Packer