Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sun-Baked Wood

Today, I was sitting outside on the picnic tables at work with (soon-to-be) NewYorkRachel and I kept smelling this familiar scent. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but I definitely associated the smell with summer. And then it dawned on me. It was the smell of sun-baked wood, a scent I strongly associate with the beach.

Growing up, we used to spend weeks at the Outer Banks. I am unable to even remember a summer that I didn't go to the beach. My earliest summer memory is when I was four, my mother was pregnant and we spent a good portion of the summer at the beach. I remember my mother's red and white maternity bathing suit, the tang of the salt water and the grainy sand between my toes.

The sounds and smells of summer stick with me. Beach houses in the Outer Banks are made of wood, weathered over time and in the middle of summer day, smell exactly like the picnic table, this indescribable smell of wood and sunshine.

I've been living out West, away from home, for almost 7 years. It's a long time to be away from the smells I grew up with. But sometimes, I still wake up in the morning, sun streaming through the shades, the call of a morning bird piercing the air and for a split-second, I'm 11-years old again, waking up to the indescribable joy of a summer day yawning before me.