Our property smells different. I have a very strong sense of smell and have been a little worried if I could handle the odor that a horse would add to our little farm. When I was in grade school, I went with my dad to pick up a load a manure for his garden. I couldn’t figure out how he could stand to shovel it into his trailer. He actually said he liked the smell. I thought I was going to pass out. Looking back, I don’t think my dad smelled horse poop. I think he smelled memories.
The smell I picked up on this beautiful, springlike day wasn’t memories, but the smell of memories being made. It’s the smell of my daughter’s joy as she learns to care for, ride, and love her horse. It’s the smell of the pride my husband takes in the chickens he raised from chicks last spring. It’s the smell of warmer weather that brings campfires and barn parties with my kids and their friends.
Because of those smells I lingered outside today instead of holing up in the house. I took a good look around. Our property is starting to looked lived in. The barn smells like cedar shavings, hay, and even manure. I thought I would hate that smell. I don’t. I followed the chickens underneath the trees and noticed the little stream that cuts our pasture in half.
The smell of evergreen trees and the sounds of gurgling water took me back to my childhood. A memory of my family’s five acres in the panhandle of Idaho flashed back to me. My dad built a little bridge so my five siblings and I could cross the stream to a huge tree where he had made the best rope swing ever. The stress of the past week began to slip away.
As I slogged my way to the back of our property, my rubber boots kept getting sucked into the mud. I thought I might lose a boot, but instead I lost some worries. I circled back to the barn heading uphill a little where our horse, Montana, has made things a bit muddy. I slipped, squealed and righted myself before face planting into the muck. The mental picture made me start laughing. Too bad I didn’t really fall. That would’ve made a great story.
My joy was returning so I headed back to the barn to look for eggs. The dogs ran around hoping to find them before me. I grabbed one (an egg, not a dog) and headed towards the barn door. And that’s where the oldest smell of all hit me – the smell of old wood and the accompanying memory of my grandfather’s basement woodshop. The tears flowed and released the last bit of worry and stress I carried around all week. Smells and memories healed my heart.