The past few days have been rainy ones in Northern California. The first good storms of the year are always like that here, super wet and blustery.
Working in a basement office now, I don't have much interaction with the weather during the day. Today was no different; I was inside all day, the rain apparently pouring down all the while.
It was when I took the stairs up to the main floor at the end of the day that it first hit me -- the smell in the stairwell. Sean had said something earlier in the day about the stairs smelling like rain, and I'd thought, "How funny. What does he smell?" And I didn't smell anything then, but later, on my way out, I sure did -- to me, it didn't smell like rain, though. It smelled like Alaska.
In a second, in a whiff, I was back -- 20 years ago, on the boat in a misty rain with the steel deck pitching under my Sorels. I heard the gear running, the engine idling, the lines creaking. The smell was unmistakable, identical to the Alaska of my memory. A memory I didn't even know I had until was left teary eyed in the stairwell of the Senator Hotel.
I've read that memories of scents are the longest lasting, the most powerful. I'm still reeling a bit from all that came rushing back.