25 April 2007

flavors of everyday

It's the scent of dish soap when mixed with the sulphur-hot smell of the water here, the keening of the wind that howls in the vent somewhere in the bathroom. It's how I know that the ferocity of the weather by the pattern of raindrops on my windows. A storm's really exciting if both kitchen and living room are spattered with wet, and the wind makes the shade pull in my bedroom clack restlessly on the pane.

It's the smell of air-dried linens and duvet, forcibly infused with Outdoor after an afternoon snapping on the line, and the green taste of a crisp hothouse cucumber grown just across the mountain pass.

It's the color of the tomatoes that squat on the folding Swiss trivet and ripen in morning sun, the taste of local potatoes roasted with plaice from the fish market near work- the one where they're impossibly jolly and pleasant, even just before closing and the store's full. It's the scratch of Icelandic wool on my arms from my lopapeysa, the color snippet of a tea towel that steams gently dry on the radiator in the kitchen. It's the red glow reflected off the sheds outside that glosses the ceilings on the north side.

Sure, Iceland's all about grand vistas for many people, but I suspect that these everydaynesses are the ones I'm going to remember again someday, triggered by ripening tomatoes, the smell of outside in the blanket fibers, or the swish of a dishcloth on yet another dirty dish.

8 comments:

Christian said...

It's the sound of the wind bashing against the tin-clad roof of the guesthouse in a November storm, the rime on the grass in Miklatún on an early August day. Walking through 101 with a plastic bag from Vínbuð with some beercans to yet another party on Friday night.

It's posts like these that bring a smile on my face, indeed making me think back to those everydaynesses of a time so great and a life so seemingly far away!

Cave Canem said...

The smell of hot chocolate during a storm; a challenge at times. It is a child like reflex that says keep me warm, keep me safe... That chocolate is Home, even if nowhere is. Then champagne! Celebrate that everywhere is home at sea once the storm abates. Please no screw cap...and cook the chocolate for optimal survival. "Imagination is the voice of daring."

Thank you for your post.

Janni said...

This is lovely, and feels very real. Thank you!

ECS said...

wow, Christian and Cave canem, I love that you've added your own everydaynesses. I don't know either of you but these snippets make me all warm and fuzzy inside. They're things I'd notice and enjoy too. Keep 'em coming!

Janni: thanks. I seem to come up with good stuff when I'm washing dishes for some reason.

Professor Batty said...

... for me it was the odors of the wild places I visited while in Iceland; when I returned home my sweater held that scent of the sea, moss and lava for weeks...

Visionary & Medium Extraordinaire said...

Water is fantastic to get your intuition going. Water is also very symbolic in history and mythology. Some people have their best revelations during dishwashing, showering or even flushing the toilet. Water is cleansing and you can clean anything from your dishes, along with allowing sad emotions to be flushed down the drain as you do the dishes.
Everything flows so well in water, even the vibration of sound changes.
Just look at the rain, most people feel a sense of somberness in the rain, or possibly nostalgia.
Water is fantastic! And indeed the smell of the sulphur and the soap has a very distinct smell.

They used to fill Geysir in Haukadal up with soap to have it spew. Quite interesting.

E, I have a feeling you'll have a fantastic summer of travel, adventure and falling in love all over again, with nature and people.
I know....as it's raining today...you will indeed have a beautiful summer.

dtw said...

I was walking around quite a lot in the rain yesterday, and I didn't mind at all.

Instead of upsetting me, those rainy days make me feel at home the most. I love it.

ECS said...

batty: I love that scent too, especially after an evening downtown. It's a great flavor to walk home to.

SB:Thanks for the good summertime wishes- same to you! I actually do like the rain a lot, which is part of why I think I am happy living here! I heard about the soap in Geysir, and the rumors about how that's why it hasn't been working of late.

DTW: Things here smell great in the rain, and I love how things become so much more personal- there's never a crowd outside when it's raining so you get the streets to yourself. Some of my best memories in places are actually in a rainstorm. Running in late November in a storm in college, January on Ile St Louis in Paris at dusk... I could go on forever :-)