Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Power of the Senses - Book Excerpt

Sometimes you can identify with events in your life by a smell.
If you close your eyes and catch that scent it can take you right back to that time in your life.

The smell that can suck me right back to the Mediterranean sea in 1976 is a shampoo. Back then it was Wella shampoo, which they don’t make anymore. Years and years have passed since I have caught that scent. I had heard some great things about a brand of shampoo and conditioner so  I ordered some online. The first time I used it I almost cried. There it was! The “wella” smell! It Actually made me dizzy from all the memories that flooded back. I stood there, with my eyes closed, washing my hair in the shower… it was like I was 7 years old and in the shower at the cinder block building on the Mediterranean coast. The memories are a blur, I’m sure there is a reason for that, but the olfactory senses never lie and like lightening can take me back to a moment in time - washing my hair in that ocean front shower and cleaning up before heading back into the mountains. 


The Mediterranean sea is totally different to me than the north Carolina coast. The sun seems brighter and more golden. And even though the sun has been shining the same on both coasts, it feels older, warmer, and clearer. I knew that I was living in the same area of the world that Jesus lived and I would be ok in this strange land because I was somehow closer to him there.


The only reason I had any idea of Jesus, who he was, where and how he lived was because of my grandfather taking me to mass all the time. I bet we went 2-3 times a week. Everything around me felt old and ancient. I could imagine, from the pictures in books, him walking right through the village and things not being too different from the way they were when I was there. The old women in the village would be gathered in the same place making bread the same way. OH! How I loved that bread!!! It was made on a dome that was sitting on bricks over a fire. The women would toss the dough like you see pizza dough tossed and then throw it on that dome. It would cover the whole dome. When it was done they would take it off and throw it in a round basket and then toss some more dough on the dome. It was much like a very large tortilla but thinner. My mother would put peanut butter on it and roll it up for me like a burrito. I wish I could taste that bread again. It would be just like the shampoo smell and suck me right back in time for an instant so I never forget.