Monday, May 11, 2009


If a picture paints a thousand words, what about a smell?

This morning a lovely, misty, foggy day dawned in Lakewood. I headed out early for my bike ride and had a lovely ride in the murky light of the early dawn. But the reason that it is memorable is that at one point along the ride I chanced upon an aroma that nearly knocked me off my bike as I was transported back in time. The smell was bacon.

Now, it's not as if I never smell bacon, it's just the combination of the fogginess of the morning, the opalescence of the light of the early dawn, and the smell of bacon brought me back to the days of my youth in south Florida.

There is a really good book by Jack Finney called Time and Again in which a unique time travel method is proposed. In a nutshell, we are tied to our current time by the myriad threads of memory that constantly remind us that we live in the present. If we could manage to forget these threads, get ourselves onto a state of mind where we are convinced that the present and the past both exist side-by-side (like the pages of a book) and then use some memory trick to convince us that we had stepped across the infinitesimal distance between the "now" and the "then," it would be possible for us to step across the void into yesterday.

If there is anything to this, then for just a moment this morning, I was in the past! The aroma of bacon just hit me and I swear I could have heard the crackle of a camp fire, the metallic clunk of a spatula hitting a cast iron skillet, and taste the acrid bite of inhaled wood-smoke.

Granted, those days were all in central and southern Florida and not in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. It is also true that a foggy morning in Miami is a portent of a hot and muggy day, unlike Lakewood where it will be dry and warm this afternoon. But for a moment, I was camping in Ocala and not cycling in Colorado.

I remember camping with my family at the Juniper Springs Campground. Early mornings (especially those mornings after a wet, rain-soaked day)were often foggy if not rainy. I would head out and stalk the campground in early mornings seeing who was up early. I have always been an early riser and was often up before the family.

Being a social animal and not one who enjoys disturbing the sleep of my family, I would dress and slip out of the camper and before anyone could miss me, I was off exploring the campground, chatting with the other early risers and seeing where everyone was from. The early morning smell was wet earth, wood smoke, coffee, bacon and toast.

Ah! The power of the sense of smell!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a great day and that all your memories are pleasant ones!

Don Bergquist - May 11, 2009 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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