noses, smells, and friendship...

i had a friend in high school, let's call her mona. she was one of my closest friends, and we were together all the time. we were bff's. she was beautiful, and confident, and funny. she was fashionable, blonde, and fit. she was sweet, sassy, and a little cooky. i always thought she would be better fititng in LA or New York, not in the suburbs of colorado, where we spent most of our lives. she also had an uncanny ability to describe smells. i think her sniffer was a little more sensitive than others. she smelled everything, and she could identify every different scent in the air. she could then pinpoint the scent, and describe it to perfection. walking through one of the halls in school gossiping and laughing she would suddenly stop, "it smells like day old coffee grounds and packing tape." a quick glance around, a great big sniff, and sure enough... that is exactly what it smelled like. walking into a new place for the first time we would all be glancing around oohing and ahhing making comments ont he artwork and the colors of the walls... not mona. nope, "it smells like cement after the rain and a treadmill belt in here" or "do you smell that? it's smells like a field of wheat, chocolate cupcakes, and bubble gum toothpaste." her precision in the matter was undeniable. she had it right every time. and how did she know the exact words to describe the smells. and who in the world would choose these descriptions, who would think to put these things together... how did she do it? i think God gave her a heightened sense of smell... maybe someday her heightened sense of smell will save an innocent family from a burning building, or warn of a chemical leak. i don't know. but that precision, that perfection, that undeniably strange gift, must have been given to her for a reason.

the girl should be making millions in the perfume industry right now. she should start her own company it could be called mona's mastery of smells... or something. probably not that, since her name isn't even really mona. i don't really know what mona is doing now. sadly our friendship didn't end well. but i think of her often, and not just of her gift of smell. i think about her and laugh and smile, and my heart aches a little inside. i say a quick prayer for mona, and i hope that wherever she is, she is happy. happy, and fulfilling all her dreams. so mona, if you happen upon this blog, and you see this note. know that i think of you often, and i pray for you when i do... and i really really honestly do wish the best for you... may all your dreams come true...

smells are a very curious thing. a smell can take you back to a specific place and time, a specific moment. a smell can trigger a memory, a thought, or an emotion. a certain smell can allow you to recall every detail of a certain point. a smell can remind you of a person, or a place, or a thing. it can make you feel what you felt in the exact moment you felt it, because at that moment you smelled what you are smelling now. why are scents so powerful, how can they do so much? it is curious to me.

romania smelled like cabbage, garlic, raw sewage, and body odor. lovely, right? but sometimes i can smell romania here. usually it is near a bathroom, and not a clean one at that, but that is besides the point. when i smell it... i feel alive, i feel at home, i sigh and smile... "it smells like romania." the people i am with glare at me wide eyed "melinda it stinks." yah i know. but to me that stink is heavenly, a dream, a smell i miss.

the smell of apples takes me back to my childhood. once a year we would take a trip to the apple orchard with my mom and great family friends. we would pick apples, and eat berries, and play in mud and hay. it was one of my favorite days of the year. and the scentof an apple takes make back to that place. the smell of baking apples takes me to mother's kitchen and days and days of pies, and crisps, and cookies, and muffins, and applesauce. days full of laughter, and hugs, love and innocence.

pine trees, campfires, and bug spray... take me to summers spent at my familys cabins in the gunnison national forrest. playing and working and learing and growing.

vanilla and patchouli remind me of my 4th grade teacher. she was heaven sent. i prayed everyday the summer before 4th grade that i would be in her class. she exceeded my expectations. she molded my life.

i love the smell of fresh baked bread. the smell of rain calms my soul. my dad's closet smells like nothing i have ever smelled before. books smell divine, they inspire me. the smell of coffee makes me feel at home.

i have a smell for every feeling, for every season, for every change.

there is nothing harder for me to describe than smells... i do not have mona's great gift.

what smells do you like, do you appreciate, what smells take you to a place that only a smell can, what smells make you feel happy, sad, or excited... how do smells touch you?


  1. What a great and interesting post Melinda!

    One time I was in a dance class in college and I smelled someone's perfume and I was taken back to about 2 or 3 grade. It was a teacher's perfume.

    I couldn't be more specific. But I knew it was Jackson School. And a teacher.

    I think it is wonderful that you so fondly remember your fourth grade teacher.

    I hope Katie loves her fourth grade teacher as much :o)

    I love the smell of a freshly washed and dried child's head of hair.

  2. I love the smell of diesel because my dad drove semi trucks for the family business when I was growing up. In the summers, the whole extended family would pile into a couple of trucks and take a business trip somewhere cross country. I would play with my toys in the sleeper area and my dad would honk the huge horn when we went through tunnels.

    So that would be me at the stoplight behind a big truck, breathing deep and sighing happily... :)

  3. oh, mama geph. that is is funny. i love it. when i was a baby my dad worked for trugreen chem lawn. and i still love the smell of chemical fertilizer. i want to breathe it in.

  4. Ok I almost cried when you said you smell Romania! I heart Romania! Crazy times. I also like your picture of the cherry tart.


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