I Like That Smell

"I like that smell," my daughter said when she came through the door yesterday and noticed the smell of the floor polish permeating the house. It was news to me that she liked the smell and that she noticed when the house is clean and tidy.

Her comment turned my mind in the direction of a friend who remarked to me in the months after her twins were born that she liked doing their laundry. She liked watching it flap on the line between her back porch and an oak tree on the property line of her Thomaston home. She liked the snap and the smell when she reeled the stuff in, folded it, and put it away. She liked the satisfaction of knowing it was all completely done.

I shared in that feeling after I polished the floor yesterday and waited for my daughter to come home from school. The task was complete, and the clean home was a gesture to my daughter of my love for her and my desire that she be in a clean, comfortable environment. (If I were on my own in this world, I wouldn't think twice about the dust.)

Back to the snap of that laundry, though. My mother and my Aunt Mary, both users of clotheslines, have made similar remarks. These women have likewise led busy lives full of people who depend on them.

Maybe the clean and cozy home is the source of stability in a world of turbulence; a place where things have beginnings, middles, and ends in a world that is always in process and pockmarked with uncertainty; a place where you can find two air-stiffened socks that might happen to match, and even if they don't they smell like a good day at the home to which you can always return.

I like that smell.