Wednesday, June 6, 2012



Smells bring me right back in time

Brut, that cheap cologne of the seventies, reminds me of that boy with the dark curls and blue, blue eyes I fell in love with way back when

Claire Burke room spray and potpourri brings me right back

to the one bedroom, furnished apartment where the Hubs and I began our marriage

A year after mama died, I opened her pocketbook, finally ready to deal with the odds and ends inside

When her smell came wafting out, I was overcome with the grief of missing her


Ghana, it has a certain smell

Not bad, not good,  just different

Fires burning, garbage rotting, rain and wind, spicy jollof rice, fish, plantain slices frying in palm oil

The potpourri of Koumasi and Accra with their millions of people and bumper to bumper traffic has exhaust fumes mixed in

The potpourri of villages with mud huts and children running around without shoes smells of cooking fires

If I could capture the smell, then maybe I wouldn’t forget

And sometimes I’m afraid, just weeks after being there, that in the smell of America  I’m already forgetting the smell of that place across the Atlantic where I left a piece of my heart

I brought home a carved wooden spoon from Ghana

And it used to smell like Ghana, and when I would forget, I could sniff the wood that grew there

Now it just smells like my house

And maybe when I got home and showered off the red Ghanaian dust,

I stopped smelling like Ghana too

Now I just smell like my house

Now I just smell like America

And that scares me a little bit



Still following,




  1. Wow.
    Though I would say, I think you have the aroma of Christ most of all, sweet friend-across-the-miles. It permeates your writing.

    1. I love Ginger's comment and agree. You're so brave and good and honest. Great post, as always.

  2. Smells are a super strong memory trigger for me, too. I used to save a tshirt do my husband's when he would go on cruise. It would lose his smell in a month and the smell like the house and I would still have 6 or 7 mons to go before he would be home. Thanks for this post

  3. This is beautiful and poignant. I feel much the same way about the smell of Ethiopia. Sometimes I can almost capture it when I cook the food, but it just isn't quite right. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of your heart and your world.

  4. and that scares me a bit..i like the honesty in that...and i feel what is behind it as well in your words...smell carries so much for me...the opening of that purse, you got me there emotionally...been there...and then the turn to ghana...makes me wonder what i smell like...

  5. oh i love this. smells mean the world to me. and i think you left your heart in ghana, friend. :)

  6. The simple beauty in this is exquisite. I could see that red Ghanaian dust on your feet, swirling with shower water. Thanks for your openness and yes, I smell it too... the aroma of Christ. I can see Him here, in your words. Beautiful.

  7. smells transport me instantly too.

  8. lovely blog=)
    I'll be happy if you check out mine too=)

  9. I, too, remember the smell that greeted us when we stepped off the plane in the dark in Ouagadougou. Once in awhile, a certain scent generated by something burning here brings it all back and the 13 or 14 years in between fade away....

    For weeks after I returned to the States, I continued to shower in the dark with a candle lit - as we had done in Africa... I don't anymore.

    I don't believe Africa will ever get out of my "blood".

  10. This is a very powerful post. I've been sitting here for a while trying to think of what I want to say, but I think you said it all. How easy it is to forget when we take a few steps away. I'm so guilty.

  11. I felt the same way upon returning from Haiti. This morning, I'm actually wearing a skirt that I wore while I was there in March. It's washed and smells like home now, but something about wearing this today makes me feel closer to my sisters in Haiti.

    (Your first picture immediately made me think of the Risen Jesus, serving breakfast on the shore.)


The best thing about blogging is hearing from you!
I'd love for you to leave a comment! Click subscribe by email if you want me to be able to reply to you.