What Brings Us Back (Amie Stone King)
What Brings Us Back
At an outdoor concert near a downtown hotel the other night, I caught a whiff of memory (cigarette smoke with a hint of chlorine) and was swept back to the pool at 415 Green Street. My great-aunt patrolling the scene, cig. in hand, shouting instructions from the porch. No one was going to drown on her watch. We swam for hours on warm summer days.
In the evenings, bats dove toward the water narrowly missing our heads, and the sweet scent of honeysuckle filled the air. We spent many joyous times there with cousins and friends, while the older crowd held court at the fire pit near the gate; grilling all night, preparing for the next day’s gathering. My great-uncle hosted the fellowships in his backyard with gusto. All were welcome to visit and dine under the multi-colored strands of retired, city Christmas lights. Crickets chirped, we laughed, ate, and enjoyed friends and family in the balmy night air.
When we’d eaten our fill, the party often moved into the detached-garage/game room for raucous tournaments of ping-pong and billiards. The memories of our times there were recorded on the unfinished walls with drawings and autographs. As we grew up, the pool and garage became our teen hangout, open anytime of the night or day for impromptu gatherings and the occasional stolen moment with a current love interest.
It’s fascinating that smells awaken memories and can take us back to another time in similar places; a communal sharing of the creation with others, surrounded by water, flowers, bats, even cigarette smoke. Nature brings us together like no other force, reminding us that we are part of a greater design, one that inspires fellowship, joy and lasting connections to family, friends and the earth.