Our van literally screamed into Salida on Sunday afternoon. We’re having “car troubles” that cause a hum not unlike a jet liner inside the van when we travel between 60 and 75 mph.  It’s dreadful.


Upon coming to a halt, I opened my door to spring.  Yes, I had seen it on our decent into the valley but you can’t know Northern California spring until you can smell it.

Heady and strong, it’s almost palpable on your tongue.  You have to drink it in.

It was heavenly.

Perhaps more than anything else – the food, the land, the fog, the weather – the smell of spring is the thing I miss most about home.  Granted, nothing is quite like the aroma of a summer thunderstorm or the Hills in mid July, but it’s just not the same.

Spring smells of Easter and crushes and bike rides and prom.  It smells like nerves at an FFA field day, the butterflies of a first kiss and the expectation of Lent.

Spring smells of hope.

Now it also smells like loss.

Nana passed today.  Surrounded by her family, in the middle of a gorgeous morning, she left us behind.

We wept.  We held onto each other and cried with relief and sadness and exhaustion. We all felt the fatigue that comes at the end of a fight.

Later, when we went to the Wyeth’s to gather the kids, I breathed deep of spring again.  You can’t help it out there, encompassed as you are with the almond blossoms . . .  and I smelled hope again.  It was different this time because there was the hint of eternity and that of course alters hope.  It magnifies it, deepens it and makes it sweeter.  And that MUST be from God because nothing, NOTHING can make spring smell sweeter.

Or so I thought.

Requiescet in pace et in amore, Nana Joyce.  We miss you already.