There’s something about the smell of summer. I keep the memory of it locked away to get me through the cold, gray months of winter.
The smell of the last school bus ride, the excitement and anticipation of impending freedom masquerades under the guise of pencil shavings and mimeograph papers given as busy work to keep us learning until 3:05 PM on the dot.
It’s the burning chemical scent of chlorine at the pool and the exotic aroma of coconuts rising off sweaty, darkening skin. Little kids run around smelling of moon pies and fruit punch, swimming to burn off all that extra sugar.
It’s the burning of wood and your uncle being able to discern the difference between the hickory chips in the smoker and the charcoal briquettes in the grill. It’s the whiff of hot dogs and hamburgers, chicken and ribs, making your mouth water and your stomach rumbles knowing how good it will all taste when combined with the baked beans your aunt made and the potato salad that grandma makes every year because she still won’t give anyone the recipe. The sweet, sugary perfume of marshmallows lightly toasting, being prepared for smores. And the tang of burnt caramel that wafts on the smoke and breeze when your brother’s marshmallow turns into a bright orange torch that rivals his smile when it comes to lighting up his face when he sees the fireworks later that night. Sulfur and smoke tendrils creep up your nostrils, causing your eyes to water as your mom yells at your dad and uncles to make sure not to blow any fingers off lighting off the explosives that fill the night air with color and sound.
The bright green essence setting off your allergies whenever dad mows the grass causing your eyes to itch and turn red as the setting sun at 8 pm. Eventually you’ve sneezed so much you can’t smell the roses your mom planted that were given to her by the church for your grandfather’s funeral.
The electricity and impending storm wafting on the breeze smells like excitement and danger. There’s even a hint of salt from the front coming up from the gulf of Mexico. And after the storm, the rich, dark scent of mud and earth comes through your window and pierces your dreams causing you to dream of frogs and fishing.
It’s the smell of new clothes and the slightly disappointing essence of new school supplies as mom checks off notebooks and pens from the school supply list signifying the beginning of the end of summer.
It’s the smell of memories and history, the end of romances and the beginning of adventures, and the ongoing cycle of the wheel of life and time.