I’ve had the words and some threads of thoughts for this post knocking around in my head for the last 24 hours or so, and it’s time for me to get this down before yesterday’s post runs into today’s, because then where will I be? Hopelessly behind and breaking all the imaginary rules I have for this project, that’s where.
As I’ve said before, this is supposed to be part exercise in reframing my thinking to trend more toward the positive, part exercise in writing, and part something else indefinable that will hopefully take shape as the year marches on. I try to stick to daily accountability mostly because of the writing exercise part. If I think about what I want to write for too long, turning phrases over and over in my head during the slower parts of my day, I get so tangled up in how I want to express things that I lose the essence of what it is I’m trying to get across. And I don’t write anything. Like last night, when I typed up “01.20.2010” on the header and sat for too long, before actually saving “01.20.2010” as a draft and going to bed.
The thing is, I pinpointed the One Fabulous Thing about yesterday very clearly: It was this candle:
A few times a month, my husband gets the baby and goes home while I work late. Yesterday was one of those days. I like getting home first, checking the mail, playing with the kid, starting dinner…all of those things that open the house back up and get us settled in to our evening. I really like coming home to lit windows, heat turned up, music on, dog walked, and a candle giving off a scent that immediately lets my nose know I am home.
The formation of memory is an incredibly tricky and fickle process. Every moment, you are taking in sensory information from your environment – what you are hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting is all being processed by your brain. You might be attending to one sense in particular, like if you are listening to a lecture you are especially attuned to what you are hearing. But your brain is also taking in the scent of the shampoo of the lady in front of you, the sunlight coming in through the window that is highlighting the layer of dust on a bookshelf, the feel of your feet on the floor and the pen you are twirling in your hand, and the faint taste of citrus from the clementine you just finished. There’s no guarantee that what you will remember after that moment is the crucial information that the Magna Carta was issued in the year 1215, and instead you may be left mystified for the rest of your life about why every time the issue of rulers being bound by law comes up you immediately think of Pantene and clementines.
This is a very long way of saying that there was a significant moment earlier in my relationship with my husband where I can’t remember what words were said, and I can’t remember what I may have had for dinner that night, but I remember the scent of that candle. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
So, Fabulous Thing #20: Home, sweet-smelling home.