The thermometer outside our kitchen window soared above freezing today, probably for the first time since October. It was wonderful to see the snow melting and the sun shining, but what really got me was the smell. In the midst of a Canadian winter, your nose is virtually useless. Everything is frozen solid-the soil, the trees, the grass-and it’s all covered in this thick blanket of snow. Today it all started to melt, and all of those smells that had been locked up all winter started coming at me from every angle.
It was like taking off a blindfold. With my sense of smell finally unlocked, a million memories from so many past springs came rushing back.
The smell of mud and soggy grass immediately made my mind jump to the image of my soccer cleats caked in the the stuff, as they are almost every day in the spring and summer. And that heavy, damp smell that always accompanies melting reminded me of the many afternoons that I walked home from school in my childhood. My brother and I would make bottle cap sailboats with paper sails and toothpick masts, and we’d race them down the gutters on our way home. Melty snow is the best for snowballs, so we’d make big ones and drop kick them so that they would explode everywhere.
Even the smell of melting dog poop brings back memories. For most of elementary and junior high school I lived next to a girl about my age who owned a big German Shepherd. We were very nearly inseparable for most of those years, and entwined with the smell of dog are so many memories of playing with Groovy Girls in her backyard in the springtime.
I’ve lived in Canada my whole life, so I know that there is far more winter still to come. It’s only a matter of time before another round of snow lands on us and my nose goes back into hibernation. However, the sights and smells of today give me hope. It’s a reminder that winter will end, and spring will come soon enough, along with all the activities that I associate with it. Because I believe that no one is too old for a good ‘ole bottle cap boat race.
What do you consider the “smell of spring”? What reminds you of springtime?