you smell like london

Dear Portland,

Today you smell like London.

Walking through the Village this morning there was that familiar wet smell that accompanies any city after the rain, but you took it a step further; you raised the stakes.

You supplied me with not only that, but the sweet scent of the decaying leaves you kicked up last night with that wicked wind, leaving the world looking like Hyde Park with its tidiness still wild at heart.

You positioned me just so that I might catch a whiff of the bus exhaust at the stop for the The 44, reminding me of all those mornings waiting in the November chill for the #9 to take me down to Trafalgar Square.

There was someone smoking outside Village Coffee, taking me back to Professor Hicks propped against the black, iron gates in front of the Prince's Gate house on Exhibition Road, sucking down as much of a cigarette as possible before he was needed in class again (then nervously twitching his foot against the desk as the nicotine wore off).

You gave me the sound of kids giggling on their way to school, not entirely unlike those perfectly uniformed Madelines (though no, this was not Paris) filing through South Kensington with their hats and ties primly tied.

And somewhere, somewhere, I swore I caught a hint of apple cider on the tip of my nose, warming someone out there just as it did somewhere near Oxford Circus around this season six years ago when I spent my first Thanksgiving away from my parents.

So Portland, thank you. Thank you for tuning me in to the smell of the holiday season from a little slice of my life not so long ago (but long ago enough to make me long for those memories). For so many years I swore up and down that I was a Londoner gone rogue. And to a certain extent I always will be.

But Portland, though London will always be one of my heart homes, you have captured me and made a home out of a city where I have built a family for myself. For that, and for so much more, I am forever indebted.

And so today, like every day before and all the days I am granted after this, I will smile and be grateful because just as Dr. Rushford exclaimed our first day in class there in our beloved London,

This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
(his condensed - but equally emphatic - version of Psalm 118)

Nostalgically yours,


  1. I need a passport, a partner in crime, and rain boots.

  2. 'ello,
    Suddenly, I'm smiling a lot! OK...I have smiled a lot(a lot more)for a bit over 25 years!Love London...

    Love you more...

  3. Now, this really sounds like bliss!!! Your dads comment has just totally made me smile.

  4. Wendy: yeah, he's a pretty swell guy :)