I have taken up jogging. Sort of. That's not why I haven't been writing. But I'll pretend that it is.
The thing is, you get so into it once you realize you actually CAN do it...the running, I mean; you do a 5 minute stretch, then 10, then all of a sudden you're RUNNING for TWENTY MINUTES STRAIGHT, which is quite a feat for the girl that always puked during the 600 yard dash in elementary school. I'm not athletic. At all. I mean, I was always picked last for teams and the boys in school actually took pleasure in pegging me in the face with that godawful red dodge ball that made the tinny BWOING sound when it bounced off your head.
So, being able to take up jogging, and actually KEEP jogging has been, for me, an accomplishment.
But I took a couple weeks off...you know, shit happens, you go on vacation, you drink too much red wine and can't fathom making your bobbly legs doing more than carrying you to the coffee maker. And getting back on the horse is hard, my friends. Haaaaard (thatswutshesaid).
The last couple days I've been trying to run again. And since we've had a couple cool days here in Louisiana (like, under 90), breathing has been pleasant and easier (the humidity doesn't make it feel like your lungs are coated in hot, sticky caramel). I've also noticed that the scents in the air have been more pervasive and powerful.
I don't know why the olfactory sense memory thing is so incredibly strong, but tonight I felt like as I did my 30 minute loop around my suburban neighborhood, I re-experienced about 4 or 5 different moments of my life. Like, actually felt like I was there.
I ran past an orange tree, and the blossoms--thick and tangy, saturated the air around me and I was in my grandmother's Florida backyard all of a sudden, locusts ticking as I practiced with my cousins for the play we were going to perform for our parents that night. It was to be "The Wizard of Oz", and my cousin Simeon was directing, and, of course, I was going to be Dorothy. My sister, cast as the tin man, would later cry as we tried to wrap tinfoil around her 5 year old body and attach a funnel to her head. We would make a yellow brick road out of 200 napkins and later, while watching "The Muppet Show", Kermit would sing 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', and we would take it as some kind of cosmic sign.
Then I passed a rosebush, and the sweet, delicate scent took me back to eighth grade, when I first started wearing Tea Rose perfume (still do). I was the mayor's wife in our production of "Bye Bye Birdie" and the mayor was played by a sad, unfortunate, short kid who would for some reason develop a fixation on me in college and actually stalk me (more on that in another post. He also friended me on facebook. I was like, really? um, no thank you.)
The stench of garbage oozing out of an overflowing can reminded me of summers in New York City, and having to wake up at 3 in the morning to walk my neurotic dog, hoping that I didn't get raped and wondering why the hell I didn't own a can of pepper spray.
What is it about scents and why do they affect us so strongly? The hold a smell has over me is really, really incredible. I love it though. I love that I can smell Estee Lauder's Youth Dew and think of my mother in a linen dress and diamond stud earrings, going out on a date with my dad on a Saturday night and feeling so sad over being left/excited about having a sitter/amazed at how beautiful and feminine my mother was. That to me, is a pretty powerful thing. Don't you agree?
4 days ago