The Memory of a Scent


As I push in the side door of the tall, white church, I inhale a familiar scent that tells me a hundred things. It’s been four and a half years, give or take a month since I’ve come to know this distinct odor and I can’t say it’s a hundred percent pleasing but I’m unable to discern the notes that make this fragrance unique to this time and place. Maybe it’s an intermingling of a thousand people, the coffee, the incense, the monthly chicken barbeques of which I have yet to partake. But when I enter and the smell hits me all at once, I know I am home and that peace and hope will be mine for the next hour.

I am not here to partake in a particular religious service and I’ve never been inside the church itself. One room has become familiar over the years. It is full of comfortable, well worn love seats with a red plaid pattern that was probably the height of 90’s decor. Pink oversized club chairs dot the space and you should get there early if you want to claim one for yourself. The coffee is on, a wicker basket of candy adorns the center table next to a box of kleenex. The room is abuzz with friendly voices and laughter as your arrive to a chorus of greetings like you are Norm from Cheers.

It is a sacred room of hope and honesty and love. Where people spill out all that lives within them in the name of helping each other live our best lives. It’s a scent I’ve missed incredibly since this period of self-isolation began over a month ago and tonight, instead of pushing in a door to be greeted by that powerful smell, I will be pushing a button to enter an online room where hope and love still exist and where one day we will all meet again and the scent of it will mean all the more.

Do you have a place where scent is center stage?


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