Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Trip in a Time Machine


Gosh, I cannot think of all the trips I have taken back in time.  Just so many I lost count.
No, the ol' mind isn't going.  What I am referring to is scent.
I have read a time or two how evocative a scent can be. I know how that is true. For an example I remember when I was nineteen years old sitting in my father's living room and I caught the vague scent of linseed oil.  In his youth and even still, it is used on a dustmop to clean and oil or shine a hardwood floor. Dad had used it just before we came to visit him.
Having caught that scent I traveled quickly back to the age of 6 years and I was in my grandmother's home ( on my father's side of the family) and saw as clearly as though I were standing there at that exact moment the entry area, reception room with its Windsor chairs and occasional tables  of Mama's home.  ( We all of us called Dad's mother 'Mama'). I saw the gleaming floors throughout that large home.  I smelled the furniture wax that was always applied to all the wooden furniture and then buffed to perfection.  I saw the leaded crystal windowlights in the side panals of the heavy oaken door.  I could then and still do see in my mind's eye, the brass doorlock and key.
I "traveled" into the kitchen and saw the white flour sack toweling that was used to dry the dishes and the large enameled double sink with the requistite bar of Ivory soup.  That is what they used to wash dishes.  I can smell it still as Mama swished it through the water in preparation to doing the dishes.
I saw the pantry and opened it to gaze at the goods inside. Home canned fruits and vegetables that had been brought up from the cellar.  And the flour I loved to turn that crank and make a floury mess.
I looked out the kitchen door onto the screened in length-of-the-house side porch and walked out onto it.  One story up from the ground.  My eye looked to the outside rickety flight of steps that led to the third floor and directly into a back bedroom.  That was always my bedroom when we went there for a visit.  But, I must add that my approach to that bedroom was done properly through a hallway, not up those steps ( if they didn't catch me that is).
 I used to sneak down those stairs and then down a second flight ( wooden stairs and staircase, by the way) to wander in the large yard.  There were apple trees you know.  Green apples one could bite ( and frequently be sorry one did!) and a large wooden gate that led to a lane which in turn went to a street leading to some stores where an enterprising young girl who saved her allowance could get some candy or peanuts.
I never fail to take that time journey when I smell anything resembling linseed oil.  Or if I smell bees wax.  Or the light...waning in the afternoon strikes lead crystal just so.
Other journeys have been enjoyed with other equally evocative scents. 
It's all a matter of time.

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