MAKURA NO SOSHI: A WOMAN WHO LOVES INSECTS
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Tuesday, November 12, 2002
WOOD SMOKE

Isn't it strange how a single smell can take one back years and years, calling up a lost memory? I spent the entire day wrestling with a migraine . . . one that slowly climbed up the back of my neck, paralyzing each vertebrae one by one until everything was stiff and brittle and locked . . . then it started up in broad, liquid circular washes of pain first in the back of my skull -- growing larger, harder, and wider -- before moving on up into the top of my head and pounding in oceanic waves against the front of my face. When I finally emerged at dusk, disoriented, with dark circles under my eyes, I stepped outside into the smell of wood smoke.

It made me remember driving up into the mountains with my parents as a small child to see the aspens turning in late fall . . . their slender limbs and hot-coal colors. There were salty chewy squares of beef jerky in my coat pocket, and it was the first time I can remember ever eating jerky. I loved how it lasted so long, like salty spicy gum. I had on a yellow sweater with red, blue, and green flowers my mother knit for me, and a matching yellow hat with dangling red, blue, and green pom-poms. There were antelope running along the highway with their graceful, bob-tailed strides, and I watched them through my father's binoculars.

Afterwards, at home, there was a fire in the fireplace . . . that wonderful burnt tangy smell of wood smoke. It was a Sunday night. And that meant I got to watch Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and after that, Walt Disney, on the black and white T.V. I thought it was the best day ever.
Posted by Artichoke Heart | 9:25 PM |
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