there's a splinter in my foot

As I walked out my door the other morning, I got hit in the face with a familiar smell.

I couldn’t place it.

I must have stood in my driveway for ten minutes, letting it waft over me. Finally it began to come into olfactory focus.

It was the smell of super low tide. Spring tides, I suppose, to be more specific.

Low tide doesn’t sound like a smell that would be pleasant. But, to me, it always seems… fresh.

I love the smell of salt water.

It immediately takes me back to being a kid. We’d spend large chunks of our summer swimming off a wharf in a nearby town.

My dad would bring us with him to the wharf. He’d work on his boat, or hang out with his friends. And we’d run a little amok.

It was a different time. It was a tiny little town.

Sometimes it takes a village… of little fuckers to raise themselves.

Future criminals and drug addicts mingled with future health care givers and pillars of society. Older kids watching from the wharf, also including a future criminal and the victim of a future shooting.

None of that stuff seemed possible at the time.

We were having fun and settling things the way kids always settle things.

“Fuck you.”

“Fuck YOU.”

“I’m telling Dad that you are cursing!”

It was an absolute shitload of fun every single day. Even the days when my dad would finish up his work and go home.

Without us.

My strongest memory from the time, and one I still struggle to describe, was the feeling that I’d get after lying on the wharf for a while, letting the sun brown my skin and raise my temperature to uncomfy levels. Then, without warning, I’d jump up, run the length of the wharf and jump off the end. And then I’d fall.

And fall.

And suddenly I was in a different world.

Bright yellow having given way to a shockingly gorgeous green,

I’d look up at the surface, seeing how the green gradually disappeared. And I’d want to stay in this new world for a little longer. But, the temperature shift between blazing sun and Atlantic Ocean was often jarring and would suck some of the oxygen from your lungs.

So, I would slowly, grudgingly surface.

Then I would plop back down on the wharf and wait until I got too hot again.

Every single time I hit that water it seemed new and surprising to me.

I was just outside and the smell is gone.

And, really, that kind of sucks.

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11 Responses

  1. Cait says:

    It was like that for me when we used to drive the forty-five minutes to our shore house. The second we started smelling the salt water through the vents, we’d open all the windows. It was the first official sign of summer.

  2. Wormer says:

    ooohhhh I love this. I used to do the same thing.

  3. mindy says:

    That whole “jumping into the ocean” thing sounds awfully dangerous to me.

    Also, that whole “ocean” thing sounds awfully dangerous to me. I’ll stick to my lakes, thankyouvermuch.

  4. Lindsey says:

    this is… so real. thanks.

    and thanks for writing. please keep blogging. despite your varying blog traffic.

    …i’ll keep reading.

  5. Niki Nielsen says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I am completely jealous of what you had.

  6. Essentially Me says:

    Man you are so lucky to be living off the ocean.

  7. Molly says:

    But it will be back.

    I love the way you write your memories.

  8. Chris says:

    Gorgeous.

  9. JenBun says:

    I think I just fell a little bit in love with this post.

    Yes.

  10. JenBun says:

    P.S. (because I can’t seem to say everything in just one comment!) I feel the same way… different ocean; same feeling.

    Thank you for this!

  1. May 21, 2012

    […] remember swimming at the wharf in a nearby town. Jumping off, free falling and falling and hitting the water hard. Knowing how […]

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