Posted tagged ‘Marrakech’

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

June 10, 2018

The clouds are back, but the rain won’t be. This will stay a dry weekend. My deck is just about ready for summer. A couple of pots still need flowers, the spawn of Satan ate the lights on the deck rails so I need a new set, and I have arranged for the deck and wooden furniture to be power washed. I have already chosen the first movie for the opening of this summer’s deck movie night. Get ready to roll out the red carpet!

I stood on the deck for a while last night. Henry was roaming the yard. I could hear him walking on the bed of dead leaves. The air smelled sweet. It was flowers and fresh mown grass. The night was warm. I could hear bird songs. I saw one firefly.

When I was a kid, the field below our house was filled with brown grasshoppers during the day. During the night, it glowed with hundreds of fireflies, maybe even thousands. That’s what it looked like to me.

When I landed in Marrakech, the air smelled of spices. I could see the orange-red wall around the city and some of its ornate gates. Horse drawn carriages, called calèches I found out later, were sharing the roads with cars. It was the most remarkable introduction to Morocco.

When I first stepped out of the plane in Ghana, I was hit with tremendous heat and such sunlight I had to squint. The air was thick with humidity. I could smell the greenery, the ferns, the high grasses and the trees. Now, so many years later, very time I go back, I can barely wait for that plane door to open so I can smell and feel Ghana again.

On some damp mornings, I can smell the ocean. It isn’t close, but the air carries that smell all the way to my house. I am always loathe to go inside. I want to stay until the ocean smell disappears.

I can smell the rain coming. I can feel the change in the air. I can smell those first drops hitting the ground. They smell of the dirt, an earthy smell.

Smell triggers memories more than any other sense. Turkeys cooking at Thanksgiving, the tree at Christmas and wood charcoal burning are reminders of family celebrations, places visited and a life so far filled with sights, sounds and, best of all, smells.

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

September 12, 2013

Yesterday was summer with all its heat and humidity. We were cooler than most places, but that didn’t matter. I still took refuge in the house and the air-conditioning. This morning is cool and today will be hot but not like yesterday. I can already feel the difference in the humidity. The windows are open and the half-deflated Happy Birthday balloon from last month’s festivities is slightly swaying in the  breeze. Gracie is taking advantage of the open door and staying outside.

On the back of the door going down the cellar is my spice rack. When I open the door, I am assailed with the best smells, smells which give me pause. Curry seems to be the strongest, but there is also another smell, a combination of all the herbs and spices in the rack, a smell which makes me think of Marrakech and the spice market.

Years ago I went to Santa Fe, once with my sisters then again with my mother. I saw chimineas on that first trip and especially loved the clay ones with the primitive designs. My mother surprised me the next Christmas as she had bought me one. That was before anyone knew what they were, before they became a backyard standard. I use to sit on the deck and burn the piñon wood I had bought on-line. It had the sweetest smell.

My garden has a variety of herbs. Window boxes sit on the deck rail, and I have also herbs growing in each of them. Rosemary fills one box. I love rubbing my hand up the stalk of rosemary then smelling the herb on my hand. When I cook with the rosemary, the kitchen fills with its scent.

The smell of a summer rain has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. The smell of the rain comes before the storm, but once the rain begins, the smell is of wet earth and wet pavement. They have a singular smell, not sweet, maybe even a bit pungent, but they give the summer storm a bit of character, a depth the winter rainstorm never has.

 

I have my favorite Ghanaian smells-wood charcoal burning being the best one of all.

Fall is coming quickly and it will usher in the smells of the seasons, of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those smells conjure memories of childhood and of my mother’s kitchen. They are really the best of any smells.

“We are living in a ‘one morning’ world; we get up one morning and many things have changed! Tomorrow morning, there will be another ‘one morning!”

August 13, 2013

Mornings are my favorite part of the day. While the coffee is brewing, I go out on the deck just to look and listen, a sort of greet the day ritual. Mornings, I’ve decided, have their own smells. My favorite is when I can smell the ocean in the dampness of the air. On warm mornings the scents of flowers fills the air. I usually hear Gracie walking on the leaves in the backyard and the songs of a few birds. Most times I don’t ever hear people, only a car or two going up the street. Chickadees dine early and they are the only birds at the feeder. I’m seldom out there all that long, but it is a ritual I have come to love. When I get back inside, the house is filled with the aroma of coffee. I grab my papers and start the rest of my morning.

When I travel, I love to be up early to go out and see the mornings unfold. I think that gives me a greater sense of where I am. One early morning at Gettysburg, I was there when they opened the gates and was the only car on the road. The morning fog shrouded the battlefield. It wasn’t eerie but rather seemed solemn, quiet, as if even the fog recognized this was a holy place, a place where men died because they believed in something bigger than themselves. In the cities, I walk the streets and see stores opening and goods being delivered. I can smell bread and coffee and even exhaust all mixed together but not unpleasant. I see the delivery trucks and people on their way to work. In Santa Fe, I got a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun then sat on a bench and watched the Indians set up their goods in front of the Governor’s Palace. The rest of the plaza was just about empty. In Marrakech my mornings started just a bit later. I sat on the roof of my riad eating breakfast by myself. The Atlas Mountains were in front of me and I was surrounded by the roofs of other houses. Women were hanging laundry and a few were cooking using a tagine over charcoal. I watched them every morning. In Ghana the mornings bustle. People are up early. Roosters announce the day. I could always smell wood fires and hear voices from the compounds by my house. I loved those mornings.

This is a busy week for me. My dance card is filled every day but Friday.