Olfactory

St. George River, fishing, Maine, Devin Howard

A view across the river.

Olfactory inputs are capable of transporting a 27 year old to a two room shack in Maine waiting out its numbered days in an evergreen forest on a low lying bluff above a dark, tannin stained, mysterious river, shrouded by fir, colonized by mice, hiding a century of family history beneath moss and cracked pine shingles. I know that place, I cannot forget it. I can’t forget the smell of ancient tea, I can’t forget the smell of its moldering latrine (I was terrified to go out there at night when I was 5, and 8, and, in fact, until I was almost 18 years of age). When I forget my father buying oarlocks to take Jay and I fishing, when I forget my mother packing us lunch for day long canoe trips, when I forget a bunch of down east Mainers eating fish and laughing and celebrating each other in a place oozing the early history of half my family I’ll be dead.

This was inspired by the glorious, poly-aromatic smell of a kitchen cabinet I opened tonight.

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