April 20, 2011

The Lure of Our Past

I have always found it fascinating that one whiff of a certain scent can send us time traveling in an instant. Helen Keller said it well, "Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived." The scent of lemon grass will always remind me of this home and the smell of fresh sliced mangos rockets me back to my grandpa's yard or my mom's kitchen in Pompano Beach. Even though it took me a long time to like mangos and although they're still not my favorite food I find the smell intoxicating. It's the sweet perfume of our memories. Perhaps nothing is more memorable than a smell, but whatever the sense that tugs and pulls us toward our past the longing to reconnect is irresistible. Absent the memory pensieve of a clever wizard our senses do a remarkable job of calling forth the past and although we can't always put a finger on the specific event the bond still exists. 
Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL
Like almost everyone, I could sit for hours listening to the sound of waves lapping the shore, but unlike everyone else that sound for me means home. Lucky, I know. Growing up in Southeast Florida with a father that was a lifeguard on its shore it is no surprise that most of my childhood memories are water related. Even in my adult life I could never go far from the shore. My parent's claim I drank nearly half the ocean dancing and singing in the waves as a kid so maybe I'm not 2/3 water, but rather 2/3 salt water. I am most definitely a water girl.
Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse 
My mom's favorite lighthouse. She met my dad on this beach.

If you are lucky enough your connection to a place begins with the stories passed down from generation to generation, builds on your own experiences and passes through to your children. Southeast Florida is such a place for me. Even though I no longer desire to live there, like an addiction I cannot go without it for too long. 

Florida Keys
The smell of Mangroves and suntan oil mixed with salt air sets me on the shores of Marathon in the Florida Keys and the smell of spiced rum or the taste of oyster crackers puts me in Key West or on a sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean. Cherished memories, occasionally exaggerations and, in some cases, borderline fictional events can make us laugh and cry and reconnect with our core. But it is the untold stories of adventures yet to come that stir my mind with infinite possibilities.  
Sharing fond memories and the beauty of my birthplace with others is irresistible for me whether in words or pictures. I hope it inspires you to revisit some of your own cherished memories or stirs your pot of possibilities.
Definitely not your
typical photo from the
Half Shell Raw Bar in Key West,
but it is my favorite.
Other than by boat this is the best way to get around Key West.

Pompano Beach, Jan. 2, 1958
The lifeguard and the nurse on their wedding day
Love you Mom and Dad

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