I carry baby tomato plants in a small box on my lap while Gerry drives to the community garden. My hands brush across their leaves. The scent of hope wafts from them.
The plants have been growing in my laundry room since I dropped tiny seeds into pots in early April, unmotivated, with barely enough left in me to send me out to the garage to plunge garden glove-clad hands into seed starting mixture and fill pots. The earthy smell was like spring. It sparked something as I wrestled with all that was happening in the world.
Now I drop fish fins and random parts (retrieved from the freezer where I tucked them away after Gerry’s salmon fishing trip last August) into holes and pour crushed eggshells from a quart canning jar on top to prepare a nourishing new home for my plants.
Later, when the plants are tucked safely in the ground and we’re on our way home, a lingering smell from my yellow Tupperware bowl snakes through the air in the car from the back to the front seat.
“It smells like fish in here,” I remark.
But it’s not the fishy smell one associates with something slightly “off”; it’s the aroma of summer, the ocean, and men laughing together on an old fishing boat in the salt chuck—okay, maybe not the aroma of men on a fishing boat where they’ve lived and slept for two days and nights, but you get my point.
Later, we take our cameras and hike up a hill across the road from a shopping mall where the parking lot is empty on a Wednesday afternoon. We shoot photos of bright yellow arrowleaf Balsamroot, flowers that herald spring’s arrival around here. The hills smell like sagebrush, hot summer afternoons, dusty bare feet. Melancholy.
Then we decide to get burgers at the drive-thru (it’s been the only option for fast food or fast coffee for months) and take the warm bag smelling of burgers and fries to a park where we sit at a picnic bench and watch a young family play with bubbles on the grass across the field.
The warmth of the sun on my body and the smells conjuring memories do a work. They lift a measure of heaviness I’ve been carrying. I think of the power of simple, ordinary things to change the course of a day and it’s good.
All will be well as I remember these things and remain anchored to the better things. The timeless things. The good, good things. Aromatherapy helps.