Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Moving at the Speed of Smell

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take a trip back in time. Instead of the flux capacitor going to work once I hit 88 m.p.h. in my Delorean like Back to the Future. I was able to travel through the speed of smell. Even though the speed of smell is slightly slower it was amazing, in one day I managed to travel to Montana and Iraq thanks to my olfactory system.


To begin with, I found it very difficult to get going in the morning. Because I didn't prepare the night before, everything went wrong as I was headed out the door. I almost drove, I am glad I didn't though since I got to travel in time. Every spring and fall the National Park Service does some controlled burns on the Petersburg National Battlefield to get rid of deadfall. As I took my regular shortcut through the battlefield I quickly noticed the smokey smell. As I got closer to the end of the road, I was no longer in Virginia; the smell and density of the smoke reminded me of so many summer forest fires in Montana. I miss Montana.


That quickly passed as I raced down the exit onto Route 36, hoping that no traffic was coming down the hill so I could have more then 2 inches on the "shoulder" where cars pass at 55 m.ph. It was not long until I reached the most dreadful point of my ride, the landfill. The air was right, muggy and stagnant, which meant the smell of the dump would be at its prime. Like most days, the smell of the dump takes me back to Iraq. For a few brief moments the smell takes me to dreaded places such as Ma'ash Market in Mosul or Obaydi in Baghdad. I don't miss Iraq.


Although I would prefer Montana over Iraq, riding past the dump reminds me how good we really have it. At least we have a dump. I always increase my speed to get through that section of the ride. Even though it brings back many terrible memories, I also get the opportunity to reminisce about some very dear friends and a couple of good times as well. This is a bad time of year for me, I will reflect on this at a later time. But for now I am back in Virginia and have to get ready for tomorrow's adventure.

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