Monday, September 1, 2014

Eau de Missoula

It's late. In fact, it's two hours later than it even feels to me. Wifey and I drove from Laurel, Wyoming to Sioux Falls, South Dakota today, with a stop over at Mount Rushmore to take pictures and marvel at the cost of a basic cheeseburger when there's a history of granite and dynamite involved.

The vast majority of our drive has included jokes about chasing down The Nothing--what from The Neverending Story. Rain clouds and doom clouds have lingered on every horizon we've chased, but we finally caught it in, I kid you not, the Badlands. There was some legend-slapping lightning and about thirty minutes of us trying to catch it on video, but mostly just us, driving in a box of uncivilized darkness, swearing harder and louder each time we came across some inane, road-saving construction.

It was fun as hell! Also quite tiring. Now, it's 1 (3) in the morning, Wifey's enjoying some well earned unconsciousness, I've got another long drive coming up in few hours, and I can't sleep.

You know how babies, the really fresh ones, have that special smell? That newness? That sort of powdery, clean, really kind of indefinable scent that just makes you want to smell the top of their heads and then protect them from every danger that has ever existed? For some reason, that's what the pillows at this hotel smell like. And it's only making me think about my niece.

C-Dubs, my newest niece, is just barely three months old. Her hair is turning reddish and it is fluffy and her elbows and knees and face is all covered in dimples and her eyes are the color of Montana's biggest lake in November. Her brother and sister adore her and I adore all of them.

Now I'm thinking about all of the smells I'm going to miss from Montana, and that's never really been an issue for me. I'm not exactly led by my nose. But now I can't stop thinking about all of my favorite Missoula scents, and why they matter, and who they're attached to.

The smell of dry grass, rain, and a forest full of trees to bowl in. Paperbacks, and coffee that's too fancy for its own good. Roses and fresh baked bread. Lilacs and gasoline. A certain brand of cigarettes.

I mean, we can't all keep our hearts with the lemon zest and whatever else is actually supposed to smell good.

Thanks again, Missoula. And to every Missouligan...breathe deep.

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