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Smell Ya Later

Summertime always brings new scents and sensations. A lot of us associate fresh cut grass, BBQ's and that sweltering smell of asphalt baking in the sun with the easy living of summertime. I love the many different emotions that summertime smells can conjure up. I can easily be taken back to memories that helped to make me the way I am now. For me, I catch myself day dreaming of bushwhacking through a sagebrush field or pine cones crunching under my feet without the distraction of the associating smells. But the scents just push me deeper into another place and the desire to be outside is impossible to suppress.

Often times we catch whiffs of those scents in the strangest of places. This is exactly what happened to me this past month and I finally realized the power of scent to control my easily distracted mind. By failing to sufficiently scrub the outside smells off before heading into the office, I have created a recipe for disaster.  Something that can have complete control by just doing what it does best, reeking.

I started a tradition this year with the purpose of gaining favorite Uncle status with all my nieces and nephews as well as showing them why I sometimes smell funny and don't often comb my hair. In early August the first annual "Uncle Pitt's Camping trip" was born. Eight little people under the age of ten, me, and the woods of Northern Utah. My first realization was the constant need for entertainment. I was reaching deep into the annals of my brain to remember stories, songs and camping activities that I loved when my parents took us out. But what I learned was if all else fails, there is always playing in the fire to keep every kid focused for long periods of time. I know this would be considered questionable parenting but I am going to say it anyway. Fire is a great babysitter.

Smell Ya Later

The weekend was a success and I look forward to the second annual event next summer. But as I moved on to work the following Monday I could not get my thoughts out of the mountains. I chalked it up to the usual slow Monday morning start. A case of the Mondays you might say. But as the day went on I was unable to shake it. The next morning I woke up early to the scent of campfire burning in my bedroom. I figured maybe a homeless person in a nearby vacant lot had started a fire. I did not really think much of it as I slid into my usual work attire of shorts and a t-shirt and started pedaling to work.

When I arrived I had the exact same dilemma as the day before. Scenes of mountains, campsites and dreamlands kept running through my head. The culprit was that pungent scent of campfire still present and lingering. I started sniffing frantically everything around me. My shirt, shorts, shoes, backpack, hands all smelled of my normal scent. What was causing my eminent distraction? Desperately trying to carry on with my day I reached down to grab a grape and pop it in my mouth when all of a sudden I caught a strong gust from my left appendage. POW! My beloved and cherished Suunto Core watch that I rarely remove from my wrist was emitting a distraction that could not be avoided. My watch reeked of campfire and had been next to me this whole time. What a sly rascal scent is so blatantly obvious yet simultaneously subtle.

I would like to tell you that now that I knew the distraction, I moved on and was able to buckle down and focus. But it was quite the contrary. It became a drug and I found myself obsessively smelling my wrist like crazed addict. Each whiff taking me back to the place I love the most. Like the scent of a lavishly dressed woman, the scent of campfire engulfed me in its ever-powerful arms and controlled me until it completely faded and left me to rest.

The ability to smell is often taken for granted and seen as a hindrance when around those scents that are less desirable. It has the power to engulf your imagination and divert your focus. That is a quality that not many things in this world carry. One quick flash and all thought processes are shifted and focused on a completely adjacent subject. Now that is the power to pull, persuade and predominate.

About the Author

About the Author - Pitt GreweGrowing up on the greatest snow on earth in the magnificent Intermountain West made it easy to have a solid focus in life.  The endless pursuit for powder snow under my feet and playing in the mountains occupied approximately 99.4% of my focus from age 4-19. Once I matured, my parents suggested that I diversify my focus and "expand my horizons."  I took them seriously and enrolled in school, worked and tried new things which has led me to where I am today. Now the outdoors only occupy 97.6% of my focus, work getsa solid 1.3% , sleeping .4%, eating .2%, and then rest of the time is wide open for me to explore things like organized sports and arts and crafts. Here is a graph to demonstrate my well balanced life.

Pitt Grewe's Well Balanced Life

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