Today was a good day, in part because I smelled the wonderful smell of goat manure.
If you're shaking your head in confused consternation, let me back up the truck a bit.
I talk about this fact enough that I can't remember if I've blogged it here or not: I have no sense of smell, about 97+% of the time. I mean, I USED TO have a perfectly functional sniffer. But then I lost it, and I don't even know WHEN...don't even know which year. Just...one day I realized that I couldn't smell, and that I hadn't been able to smell for a very long time. Maybe it went away real slow, like when you heat a frog up in a skillet over a low flame and he doesn't know he's being cooked? I don't know. (Tell me you know what I'm referring to with the frog, and don't think I just went psycho online...)
In answer to your inevitable question and comment: no, this handicap has no discernible effect on my sense of taste, and yes, I realize the inability to smell could potentially be dangerous (gas leaks, etc).
ANYWAY. Once in awhile, out of the blue and never for any particular reason that I can discern, my sense of smell suddenly returns to me in a very vivid way. That's never for more than a few minutes, and often even amidst that, my sniffer behaves erratically, sometimes focusing in one one odor and totally not picking up other (even stronger) ones.
I love being on a farm in the mushy squishy muddy part of colder weather. I mean, farms are BEAUTIFUL when the weather is warm and pleasant and sunny, but they also have their own special sense about them in the off season. I took a friend and her kids to visit another friend, my goat-farmer friend, who happens to be also one of my high school BFFs and the generous donor of Wilma, my wonder bike. We arrived at the farm and I was instantly delighted at the squashy way the ground smudged around under my boots and the starkness of the winter farm. Then...my friend opened the big door of the barn to reveal her herd of goats. And as the door slid open...there it was. A waft of...BARN SMELL. The smell of a building full of living animals.
You have to understand, this is NEVER a bad smell to me. It's a *home* smell to me, with all manner of beautiful emotion and longing and memory and sweetness attached to it.
I was happy to visit the (unbearably adorable) baby goats. But I was equally happy for just that little space of smelling farm life.
I guess I really liked that, because later in the day, I had another of my strange (infrequent, but familiar) olfactory phenomena: imaginary smelling. I was out for dinner with my son and suddenly...there it was again, just as vivid as it had been on the farm: barn smell. I quickly made a mental assessment: I had changed my boots! And my outer coat! How could I smell like the barn? But when I asked my son, I found out that I didn't. There was no barn smell present there. My nose just liked it so much that it re-created the memory, in a rather inopportune setting. Barn smell is AWESOME when you're standing in the barnyard. Not so much, when you're downing a chorizo burrito suizo.
The human body is a mysterious and wondrous thing. I don't know why I can't smell most of the time. I don't know why my sense of smell deserted me. I don't know why I get brilliant moments of olfactory clarity. I don't know why my brain creates false smell memories that are every bit as real as actual, present smells.
I do know that I'd rather lose smelling than hearing, or seeing, or tasting, or touching. I do know that my moments when it returns to me are joyous ones and there is no hangover of angst when it goes again.
I do know that this body is worth loving, just as it is, brokenness and all.
I do know that.