Kate wrote about her favorite smell in this post. Like me, Kate is from Arizona, although she still lives there today, and I am now out here in Maryland.
Her favorite smell is chlorine, which makes sense because that is the smell of an Arizona childhood. Anybody who grew up in Arizona spent a significant amount of time in a pool. That's just the way it worked.
As she wrote about pruned fingers and eating soggy sandwiches on the pool deck, I felt the unmistakable longing for home.
People from Arizona don't have a lot of literary models. The only author I can think of that wrote about Arizona is Barbara Kingsolver, and even she up and moved to Virginia.
An Arizona kid watches Christmas programming and feels like she's missed the punchline to a joke. What's a White Christmas? What are these snow days of which you speak?
Garrison Keillor writes about Minnesota and Ms. Moon writes about Northern Florida, and I try on those worlds. They fit nicely, and I could grow to love them. I love the Maryland I'm presently wearing.
But nothing, nothing, feels as comfortable to me as a patch of Arizona sunshine, the sky as wide as the world, and yes, that smell of chlorine.
So, thank you, Kate, for taking me home today. Thank you for understanding my roots.
There are very few people who write about Arizona, so when you find one, it's like a literary homecoming.