when i got out of a meeting today there was a package waiting for me on my desk. convinced that i had forgotten an online order, i brushed it off and returned to a meeting.
when curiosity got the best of me, i began to peel through the paper to the box. the scent seeped through and i began to detect the humble beginnings of a masterpiece. when i peeled the tape away, curled wood chips exploded from the box and euphoria shot through my nostrils.
i was instantly in nagoya, right after a run from my house to the train station. i was out of breath, hands on my hips and head down, walking it out. mrs. price- my middle school running coach- had always lectured, "breathe through your nose" and for once i was grateful for cross country. i had never seen a saw mill before, much less one inside a big city, much less one that slices planks of wood that smelled aromatic. i come from a place of oak trees and spanish moss, so i welcomed this new scent: a light, beautiful smell that makes you think of blonde children running through fresh meadows with kites. it makes factories with rusting saws and broken trucks seem like sanctuaries.
the box i opened that day was a gift from a guy i met, while sitting on a curb smoking a cigarette. he was an eccentric furniture maker, obsessed with his craft and the integrity of his medium. he told me about the sensation of carving a living thing into functional art, ambled through ranges of the texture and scents of various wood. what he sent me in that box was not just a block of port ordford cedar, but proof in the magical ability of scent to conjure up memory.
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