Saturday, December 7, 2013

Inhaling the sweet scent of a perfect Thanksgiving weekend

I have to write this now. I have to write before the scent of the last few days fades away, and I find myself sniffing the air, or my sleeve, or my pillow, hoping for an olfactory remnant I might have overlooked, one that will bring Thanksgiving weekend back all over again.

You know how some days are filled with moments you want to tie together with twine and put into a drawer with your favorite t-shirts and softest socks? They don't come around all that often, and truth to tell, what makes them special isn't anything you'd find in a movie or a book, or something anyone other than you would care to watch or to read.

They tend to occur quickly as a finger snap; occasionally lingering as long as a few castanet clicks, maybe once in awhile even stretching to the length of the last lyric of a favorite song. You know that very second they're happening, and you smile, and you feel like honey was poured into your very soul. You vow you'll remember and then, by the time you get home or the sun drops below the horizon, you've forgotten.

But I determined when the first bit of goodness tickled my nose that I would remember. It must have been Thanksgiving morning, as my son Charlie and I jogged together from our perfect parking place to the starting line of the Turkey Trot -- which, this year, was blissfully next to a corral for the timed runners. 

I remember how happy Charlie and I were watching my nephew/his cousin Paul cross the 8-mile finish line, and walking to our car with him, his sister Julie and her boyfriend Tyler. I freeze-frame moments at dinner, as well as the game we played and how much we laughed.
Saturday morning, my run merited a gold star -- which I knew before I'd even reached the corner because it felt so good. I didn't even realize till I checked my watch 6.2 miles later that I'd never run that distance so fast. But what keeps touching my memory is gazing at the blue, blue sky and being almost-stop awestruck by the storybook V-formation of geese -- whose honking as they headed south jostled me from my running trance.

Just now, a day or so later, I find myself taking a deep breath, wanting to recount on the exhale even more moments from a weekend that Charlie and I each marveled at during those days -- more than a few times, and completely out of context.

Instead, I'll tug at a roll of twine, snipping off one piece, two pieces, a dozen. I'll wrap each one around a moment, a smell, a piece of sky, a drop of honey. I'll scoop the pile into my arms, shifting a little; freeing my fingers enough to open a drawer. As I lift my wrists, the little bouquets will fall inside. 

I'll close the drawer and, just for a second, my eyes. I'll inhale deeply, holding onto my breath, onto the scent. Then I'll open my eyes as I empty my lungs, fill my soul, and allow myself to linger. Just -- but really never quite -- long enough.

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