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06/24/2008

Comments

TJW

My favorite autograph poem was (is): If all the boys lived across the sea, what a good swimmer _____ would be.

John Anthony

A triple winner: Trees, reminiscing of times gone by, before one was born, and poetry.

Thanks.

Tim

Poetry can be very reclusive and (some might say) gay. Just kidding.

But it sounds like you mother's camp poetry made for a very communal and enriching read. The internet has some of these same qualities, but the experience is often muted by margin advertisements, password protections and the limitations of non-portable, battery-powered machinery.

I'm sure when your mother opens up her autograph book her memory is smothered with the smells of pine cones, fresh lake-scented breezes and popping camp fires. When I open up my lap top all I smell is a plastic smell which (ironically) takes me back to my childhood.

When I was a boy one of my favorite things to do after my parents bought me a new action figure was to rip open the packaging and inhale the plastic smell of a brand new Luke Skywalker or Chewbaca. Each toy smelled similar but they each had a distinct aroma. As I matured, the spectrum of this toy smell grew to include the interior of new cars, the faux upholstry of furniture and the panels of new appliances. Whenever I climb into a newly cleaned rental car the first thing I do is smell the steering wheel.

I love the leathery smell of mint condition objects so much that I make an extra effort to keep my things nice so they can retain their new smell longer. There is something comforting in objects that are new, high tech or which otherwise make life easier. But your mother's camp experiences are organic in a way so as to trump any amenity. The crisp air, the scuttering of wind-swept pine needles, the moaning wind and creaking sounds of a cabin in the pitch dark--these cannot be recreated by pixels or the latest baseball-sized Apple speakers.

Nature is mighty and never-changing. Human inventions must adapt or they become relegated to the dustbin of history.

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The Chaos Detective is a series about a man searching for 'identity' as he completes assignments from a mysterious organization. Watch the first episode (five parts) on YouTube.

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