June 16, 2011

Mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful

e.e. cummings had the right words, when regular English vocabulary simply wouldn't suffice.

There is truly no better humidity than the air right after rain in Mississippi. I always said there was a Mississippi "smell." Emily and I could sense it whenever we flew down for a summer vacation at Lake Pickwick. We would land in Memphis and drive towards the border, filled to the brim with anticipation. The reddish-brown pebbly stones and Mississippi mud welcomed us home (even thought Mississippi had never been our actually home until last June). We could smell the heat, the mud, the humidity, and the love. It is a distinct Mississippi smell. And when we drove down last June with Brigitta, that same innocent excitement filled us both as the faintest essence of that Mississippi scent reached our noses. We pointed it out to Brigitta, who conceded that it did smell different, but Emily and I could tell - it was Mississippi.

Having lived here for a year, the smell has obviously faded from my immediate attention, but it is one of those things I don't ever expect to forget. It is odd to think that I've lived in so many places, and with so much extreme weather. I've seen snow on the fourth of July in Vail. I've been in the middle of a vicious and fatal heat warning in Mississippi. I've frozen straight down to my bones in Ithaca. I've gone months without seeing sunshine in Portland. And I wouldn't give a single one of those experiences up for the world.

Right now I am enjoying the post-rain humidity. It has been a hot summer, and it is only mid-June. And there is bad humidity - everyone knows that sticky kinda that almost feels suffocating (although, you've never really felt it until you've been to the South). Sometimes I miss the dry air of Colorado which prevented me from ever feeling unbearably hot, regardless of how warm the thermometer claimed the air to be. But there is, in spite of its stickiness, a comfort in the thick air. It's like been embraced. The air at the moment is not too hot, but has an indescribably perfect weight to it. I feel like I never have to put lotion on again! In all seriousness though, its the kind of humidity that just makes you fall in love with Mississippi.

I think Mississippi will always be my home.