This is my entry for Thordora's June Pulsate Olympics.
I walked into my mother's house today and smelled Paganism. My mother is Lutheran, and as far as I know holds no Pagan leanings - but the smell that wafted into my nostrils as I set my things down was unmistakably the smell of the small hole-in-the-wall shop where I conducted my spiritual awakening over the course of a couple of years. The shop is out of business now, and I'm not sure what, if anything, resides there now. The smell of the store (and my mother's house today) is the same as any new-agey or occult store that sells incense in a small space - exotic woods, musk, eucalyptus and who-knows-what-else all mixed together, but that smell will always remind me of Wings and the incredibly kind and patient people who worked there and answered my questions, let me spend entire afternoons picking their brains, and tolerated my endless browsing to only walk out with $5 worth of merchandise. There's a shop in the town where I now reside that smells similar - but they sell mostly beads and bohemian hippie clothes, so it's not quite the same.
That smell takes me back to when I still looked for the wonder in everything, and anything seemed possible. It was a time of transitions, leaving the trappings of childhood behind and figuring out what to take with me into adulthood. It's the smell of a few poor decisions mixed with a lot of great ones. It's comforting to smell, yet bittersweet - the reminders of those wonderful people who were so good to a girl on the verge of discovering herself, who reassured me that as long as I "checked my gut" and remembered "why my friends call me 'Mama Heather'", that everything would work out in the end.
It did. It has. It continues to. For the smell of awakening, for the time, talk, and wisdom you shared - thank you Dawn and Sherri, and all others whose names I cannot remember. Blessed be.