I was briefly in Girona last week, just one evening and morning, before I headed down to a town on the water in Costa Brava. As I waked to my favorite little coffee shop in town, I inhaled the overwhelming scent of freshly cut grass. In this case, not just freshly cut grass, but the unique aroma of slightly damp freshly cut grass.
It smelled like home.
People ask me all the time about what I miss about not having a home base, as I have been permanently traveling since late 2008. Do I get lonely or homesick? Do I miss this or that?
Today, I missed mowing the lawn.
It has been said that smell is the sense most closely tied with memory. I don’t doubt that at all, though I think for me my sense of hearing, and most specifically when I hear certain music, is most closely tied with my memory. And now that I realize it, I have written about music and my memory more than once.
That being said, when I smelled that freshly cut grass, I was immediately transported back to my front yard — mercifully a small yard, I don’t like mowing the grass that much.
The temperature was at that level of slight chill that signals Autumn has arrived, and along with that has come football season. It felt just like a Saturday morning back home. I would be cutting the grass and watering the plants out in the front yard. Like a typical American male, I’d be enjoying the sight of my well-tended yard and oddly deriving more than a reasonable amount of pleasure from it.
Why that is the case has always mystified me, but ask almost any guy that owns his own house about his lawn and we tend to wax in almost religious fervor about its excellence.
After mowing the lawn, I’d come inside, flip on my 42-inch, obnoxiously large, flatscreen TV to “College Gameday” on ESPN, hop in the shower to wash off the mild morning exertion, check to make sure that I had beer and food to munch of for the day… and that would be it. That would be my day.
No work. No internet. No Twitter. No worrying about where I would be sleeping a couple days hence. Just a good, solid mindless day of pure relaxation and enjoyment spent laying on my couch, watching football, drinking Shiner Bock, smoking a cigar or two, and just letting my brain rest.
Today, I miss my couch.