The smell of cut grass.
by Ellen Jo Lancey
(Vernon CT USA)
I was cleaning out my closets yesterday. Getting ready for the change of seasons. I came upon an old jar candle that I’d kept in hopes of re-gifting someday.
I held the jar up and looked for a fragrance label. “Fresh Cut Grass” it said. No wonder I never could find a recipient for this. I would move it with the other candles in my emergency supply kit.
Curious, I opened the jar to smell the fragrance, which was cloying and sweet. It was not at all like the summertime, when the fathers got out of work and the dad army on our street would take turns manicuring their property. They did this after supper. When the sun was still high but not so hot.
I would lay on my back, on my own family’s un-mown lawn, and inhale the heady sweetness that the summer eve’s gust carried to me.
The smell stirred up a longing in me that I didn’t understand. A restlessness, sprung from nowhere, leaving me unsure how to respond. Later I would learn what these subtle feelings meant.
The restlessness and thirst would bring me to an early adulthood, one that made me forget to smell the grass. With competition for my time and obligations so strong, I couldn’t look up to smell anything.
Now I am a little older, most of my early adult obligations discharged, I like to scoot around my town on a little moped.
I realize I am the talk of the town, but having sacrificed my teenhood so easily, I feel a need to make a little fun for myself.
Sometimes on a back road country ride I’ll pass a middle-aged man, sweaty, overweight and probably bald under his hat. And he’ll be crisscrossing his lawn on his ride-on- mower. And that intoxicating perfume will waft to my nose. And for a brief moment, I’ll feel that weakness, that unquenchable thirst. And as I drive on, I give my toy horn a little beep.