Thursday, October 11, 2007

Music to my nose

I finally put away the tent we used in Utah. It's only been what?--three weeks ago we got back? Big deal. I don't think I took down my Christmas tree until March this past year. I'm constantly tripping over backpacks in my apartment, left over from some hike. It's not unusual for a sleeping bag to be found draped over the couch, airing out. Or a bladder drying on a towel rack in the bathroom. My beat-up hiking boots were cluttering up the landing for a good week, and my trekking poles were rattling around the front seat of the truck until a week ago.

I wiped the thick layer of red dust off the groundcloth yesterday morning in the bathtub, transferring the dust from the cloth to my hands, reminding me that that's the way my skin felt for a solid week. Dry but not dirty. It's a clean dirt, powdery and fine, like talcum.

And the tent I yanked out of compression bag this morning; it was already partially out anyway because I didn't want to stuff it tight in the bag. It's an REI Quarterdome UL, supposedly a two-person tent, but it's really a one-person-and-his-dog tent. Sue and I do just fine in it, though. One night, the night we had it pitched on slick rock on the edge of a canyon and thunderstorms ripped all around us, we even had all our gear in there with us. I slept that night propped up on my pack, and I never slept better.

When I yanked the tent full out, the pungent smell of ripstop/tent filled the room. I imagine Bob experiences the world and all its rich smells that strong, that a smell conjures up an entire journey for him. That explains why he gets so excited when I pull gear out of the closet in preparation for a trip that's still day's away. The symphony of smells the gear gives off--mountain air, mud, cool stream water, rock, and wood smoke--is music to his nose. (That's possible, right?)

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