Sunday, February 24, 2008


I am currently reading "Out of Africa" by Isak Dinensen. I was struck this morning by something she said.

Camping places fix themselves in your mind as if you spent long periods of your life in them. You
will remember a curve of your waggon track in the grass of the plain, like the features of a friend.

I think that this applies to many places that I have been only once. Sometimes memories of places I have visited become so firmly planted in my brain, after only one visit, that I can recall them along with all the smells and feelings that went with them.

- I can remember the camping trip that we took to Washington state when Rob and I were in college. I remember the smell of the fire at each RV camp site, the way we laughed every night until my sides hurt. The house on the inlet that we drove by and I thought, "that is the perfect house for me. Sitting by the ocean, garden in the back. I want to live there." I can still remember what it looked like even after 25 years.
- I will never forget the way Ghana smells, or India, or Peru. Each country has it's own smell. India is heat and dust and exhaust and animals. When we are in the slums, in what ever country, there is the smell of garbage, earth, dampness. All melding together. Who could EVER forget the smell of the smoked fish vendors in the market in Kumasi!!!
- Walking the streets of Sydney, Australia and Wellington, NZ. The truly raucous St. Patrick's Day party that I stumbled on at 9 o'clock in the morning.
- the smell of night blooming jasmine in Florida at the place where we went to look at the Christmas lights.

I could go on and on but I guess that all I want to say is that memory is a powerful thing. Take a moment, wherever you are that isn't home, and try to implant the memory on your brain. Sit there, with your eyes closed and just listen to the sounds that are around you. Really look to see what is different from home. You will be amazed at what you will see.

1 comment:

  1. I remember stepping off the plane in Rwanda and the overwhelming smell of Africa. I loved Africa and India both.


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