As I have written, we are in our childhood hometown. We have been here three weeks today. The time here has been like a series of flashbacks in a bad movie… Wherever I walk, drive, ride or roam, there are memories. Some of them good ones too.
Today, as I was walking our puppy (yes, he is along for the trip), I went through all the flashbacks that sort of wait for me at each block, and noticed how I recognized the scents of the area.
Our city is famous for oil and petroleum products. It is, after all, Oil City. A few miles north is Titusville, where oil was discovered for production purposes by Col. Edwin L. Drake. So, an underlying smell in this city is oil, or petroleum. I don’t think that scent is as strong as it was in my childhood when Pennzoil and Quaker State had refineries going all the time, along with a couple of other refineries, Wolf’s Head and Amalie. But, still there is the faint smell of oil.
Add to this, a fragrance of the woods, the damp musty wood smell. In the midst of those two heavy smells, the delicate smell of lilacs waft between. It may sound confused and weird, but, to me, it is a comforting smell.
Woods surround the houses here. I look through them and know my way around. They do not look ominous, they look like home.
As I walked the dog, sniffing and looking, a verse of my favorite poem ran through my mind, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” (Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost)
This time has made me realize that I have been shaped by this town. Things I hold dear were knit within me as I grew up. As I grew up and travelled, I feel like the Lord set within me certain things that have sealed who I am. These things are my love of mountains and rivers. The sound of wind through trees and the rustling of leaves on the trees and on the ground. The draw of small towns over metropolitan areas and the quiet that comes when you look at the night sky and see lightning bugs blinking in the distance.
I know we won’t return to this town to live again, and I am fine with that, but, this extended time here has shown me that certain things are important to me, wherever I am.
Thanks for stopping by today, DAF