Today’s the day! Finally, it’s time to leave for Maine. On Friday, we’ll get to our camp on Little Sebago Lake. I will open the door to a smell so evocative that I wish it could be bottled up to enjoy in the winter. It is composed of pine wood, mildew, old books, moth balls, sand, and sunlight. It is the smell of my childhood summers and of all the summers of my life. I once read that the sense of smell, of all the five senses, is the strongest for tapping information stored in long term memory. A smell has the power to tap into one’s forgotten history, and the memory of a smell can transport one directly into the past. I can remember the smell of wet wool socks drying on the wood stove . . . whiskey in my grandfather’s glass . . .sun tan oil (no SPF in my childhood, we used iodine emulsified in baby oil to enhance the natural tan) . . . the smell of my mother’s ironing our cotton sheets. . . the sulfur from the match that lit my father’s cigarette.
In theory, opening up camp should be easy. The boat has been delivered out of storage to our driveway. We hired someone to clean up the yard, what there is of it, and to put in the dock. All our clothes are already there. The food staples are in the cupboards, sealed in airtight canisters. We should be able to walk in the door, flip on the breakers, carry a few nests of baby mice out into the woods, and then be good to go. I’ll let you know how it goes!