Yesterday marked the first day of summer; it kind of snuck up on me, but considering the humidity and temperature the last couple of weeks, I'm not sure how it crept from spring to summer so secretly. Throw in a conversation with my brother Bill early this morning and it became a nostalgic fade to days gone by.
Bill started the conversation by telling me he had been up to Centralia, Kansas, my home town last week(where I come from you always go "up" when you head north, and "down" when you head south. Hence, up to C-Town down to Topeka) and from the looks of things the farmers would be harvesting wheat within a week or so.
It was almost as though he had opened the gate to the loading shoot and the steers bolted for the truck that was waiting for them to step aboard. Except instead of steers, it was the memories of growing up in a bucolic land that bolted straight at me.
The interesting part is, when he mentioned the wheat harvest, my first reaction was to think of the smell of a wheat field freshly cut by the combines. You can only know that smell, when it's been a part of your informative years. From there, I imagined the clean and unspoiled smell of an alfalfa field, waiting for someone to load the small bales onto a wagon or truck and head them for the barn.
Then there's the power of a freshly plowed field, it seems to me soil has the odor of both life and death. You can smell the decay and at the same time there's an unmistakable fecundity that passes through the nostrils. Maybe I'm beginning to understand the vintner, when he says" this Bordeaux has an earthy nose."
Being around a maturing cornfield after a rain is another smell that's imprinted in my brain, the pollen that become the kernels seems to effervesce after a shower. Ah, the good old days.
It's not all corn bread and chicken type good smells on the farm. But you've got to kind of take the good with the bad. I don't think I'll be forgetting the acrid odor of chickens, the sinus clearing vapor of the hog farm, and the phases of fetidness of a rotting carcass.
I don't need a plane to go home, I think I can take a stroll down memory lane with a chemistry set. What do you think?