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Drive home.


Wherever you go, there you are.

On the drive home,
if I sit very still and close my eyes

The air smells warm and dry,
dry as the Santa Ana winds.
Bougainvillea, Eucalyptus, Jacaranda, Palo Verde-
They all wrap their fragrance around me,
sweetening the sky that grows bright with starlight in the desert night.

The car rumbles straight away, past exit signs, shopping malls and city glow
Until we move up,
up and out where the gentle curves, marked with sage and century plants,
sway along for the ride,
the road winding and wonderful,
no other traveling, except the coyote or a cow.

At the top,
the live oak stands quietly with arms outstretched as if to say, Almost there.
Leaning into every curve, rocking back and forth,
landing smoothly, one with place and present.

Finally, I’m home-
unlocking the door to my mind,
windows arching open to see my soul,
Saltillo and sand below my bare feet, cactus flower at my side.
Relaxing, ready for my heart to soar like a hawk …

Front Yard, April 2004 (6)until I open my eyes, miles away.

  • Janet Muniz is an award-winning professional writer known for informative articles, inspiring blog posts and engaging video content. Her personal blog, The Shape of Trees, is devoted to filling the well with poetry, pictures and originality.
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Sense of smell.


My husband spent Labor Day weekend unpacking boxes in his man cave, i.e., the garage. “It’s amazing,” he says, “each time I open a box, it smells like Ramona.” Most of the boxes in the garage were packed up several years ago –moved from our home (and my sanctuary) in Ramona, CA. Oh, yes. I remember. A year and a half ago –when I was unpacking boxes- I, too, was brought back to my beloved front yard in San Diego County … and promptly named our new home “Ramona in the Pines” as a tribute.

Antonia’s Flowers perfume brings me back to East Hampton, NY –weekends riding bikes to Georgica Pond, grilling tuna for dinner. One of Antonia Bellanca’s other fragrances –Tiempe Passate –takes me back to Italy and the hills of Panzano, taking cooking classes. It was my first trip abroad.

My first time west of the Mississippi was a camping trip to Canyonlands in Utah, an amazing 14 days experiencing space. For years afterward, I could return there in an instant, just by smelling the scent of sage warming in the sun.

It’s not enough to say that our sense of smell can help with memory (although it’s clear it can). A fragrance can bring back a sense of connection, reminding us of something meaningful.

And finding something meaningful is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

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