Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Bike DOWN Memory Lane

I really should have put this thought to paper when it actually happened, but I did not and so I am saying to myself, "Better late than never, right?" I have been plagued as of late (40 years or so) by what could be called a wee bit of self doubt, but is actually a huge, enormous elephant sized helping of such. And because of this doubt, I stopped writing in public. Little Brother's rather stern lecture today has all but forced me back in the game.

There is something about smell that has the ability to transport us instantly to another time and place. It is usually, for me, a nostalgic conveyance back to a specific and often intense memory. While out on a bike ride this summer, I was stopped mid pedal-stroke by a smell that brought vivid memories to mind and made me almost laugh aloud. I stopped on the side of the trail and backtracked until I found the small clump of yellow flowers that had sparked the memory.

When I was a kid, we lived in a subdivision that still had several undeveloped acres surrounding the new homes. Those plats were overgrown as far as the eye could see with what we called mustard flowers. The plants were over my head, and it was the most amazing playground a kid could have asked for. My siblings, cousins and I spent countless hours making forts in those weeds. We would stamp down the plants flat to create different rooms in our weed mansion. A living room and kitchen. Bedrooms, playrooms and even a bathroom, which I hate to admit we used, but we did. Don't judge, it was the 70's and we had very little supervision. The smell of the mustard flowers was intense and by the time we were done flattening the stems to the ground, romping through the rooms we had created and sleeping atop beds of flowers, we were sticky with the scent. Catching that scent in the air that day on my bike, brought me back in an instant to those fields.

I should have put this thought to paper the moment it happened, for in that brief moment, by the side of the road, the memory was as thick as that smell had been then. I was 9 years old again, and all was right with the world.

Quote of the Day: "If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older."
--Tom Stoppard playwright 


  1. Yay, you're back! Please stay! I LOVE this post because I have a vague memory of doing something like that, except in... what, I'm not sure. Snow, probably. So happy to read you again!

  2. When I read this, it evoked the memories so strongly that I could smell the mustard flowers again. That is even though I am sitting in an office in Boston right now.