Pedaling through the aromascape I am assaulted, again and again,
barely time to register the sense impression before the next one arrives.
(I pedal smoothly down the path meeting wave after wave of fragrance,each carrying its own set of images, memories, concepts)
Full autumnal tang of crushed poplar leaves generate a golden afternoon and the dear one who was there. Superimposed is another face, radiant in the yellow light, images from ten, twenty, forty years ago as immediate as the present.
Then the nearly-acrid tang of pine gone badly wrong, the blowdown’s massive trunk is rent, torn asunder and bleeding its sticky fragrance into the warm summer air (Ghosts of Christmas past, brown needle-carpeted playhouses, wide boards freshly sanded in an ancient keeping room)
Pedaling on, the thickly fragranced atmosphere bears down, intense and pressing in the hot sun
Red clover, crushed tansy, heavy floweryness of milkweed calls insects and birds and me (six years old, gripping my milkweed pod between my fingers, a green and silent canary)
A brief hint of woodsmoke evokes a hundred campfires
The smell of water arrives before the plashing and tumbling, brown water rich with mud and decay and humus, scents of fecundity and death, life and that which feeds life all at once
And I stand to pedal, exulting in the effort, the ache in my calves, the pounding of my heart, the heaving of my chest (body remembering childhood, climbing the hills in my hometown)
fully here, fully alive