Smells Like A Memory


There’s something I love about a city waking up. Especially when it’s a little cooler outside and you can feel fall is looming.  The air seems fresher, just a faint hint of diesel as the trucks and buses begin to move.  Most days you can still smell the dampness of the pavement from the morning dew and an aroma of anything-is-possible is carried on the breeze.

I was enjoying just such a morning the other day as I was out for a walk in Minneapolis. Then I caught a whiff of coffee wafting by.  All of a sudden I was transported back to a tiny town in Southern Spain where I lived in the 1980’s.  I could still picture the scene as if it was unfolding before me that very moment.  The businessmen and shop keepers would be pulling back the gates to their ground-level businesses.  Women would pause briefly to chat while stepping outside to dump the day’s mop water.  Young people would walk past, often times shaking off a sangria-induced haze from the previous evening.  It was Spain coming to life.

As I would watch from my balcony, the smell of cappuccino and espresso would float up to me, calling out for me to come have coffee. Sometimes I had the strength to ignore it.  Many times I did not.  I would follow my nose to the corner shop to enjoy a diminutive cup of deliciousness.  But who could stop there?  The freshly fried churros were like little fingers waving me over, pointing out that amazing chocolate that went along with them so nicely.  Sigh.  How could a girl say no?

Then the sound of a bike coming up alongside me brings me back to reality, back to Minnesota. For a moment I am sad, missing my lazy Spanish mornings and afternoons filled with siestas.  But then I think of where I am, who’s around me.  I take a deep breath and remember why I’m glad I’m here.  A crisp Minnesota morning and the city is just waking up.  I sip my tea and walk on.




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