Monday, January 15, 2018

well, said Sam

Something in my room smells like the Tantur hallway by the kitchen, which smells a little bit like zataar, slightly like olives, and a little bit like nursing home. Maybe it's something baked into the '60s architecture. It's the scent which I imagine most of the that decade smelling like. It's not exactly an entirely pleasant aroma, especially when you have a cold or a queasy stomach. It is, however, inarguably homey.

Perhaps it has permeated into my clothing, or it's airing out of my suitcases. Perhaps it's lingering in my bag, or books, or in my olfactory cavity, but every time I open my door, I walk into a wave of Tantur-kitchen-smell. In the thick of new beginnings, this loitering scent is a lingering comfort, a reminder of a places that calls me home.

As I write this, snow is falling in lush, lacy clumps onto Bond Quad. One of the gifts of this room is discovering I can still see new things on an old, familiar campus. In December, the first time I saw Bond Quad in the snowfall, I stared out my window for a whole five minutes, transfixed by a familiar place blanketed in an entirely new perspective. It's equally as mesmerizing now, as the wind rushes snowflakes past my window in swoops and flurries. Watching snowfall cover the symmetrical, neat sidewalks of Bond Quad is a sight which calls me home.

I don't know what I mean by that, other than these sights—snowfall—or these scents—a familiar kitchen—speak directly to me from the very moment I encounter them. They speak to a genuine pit of identity deep in my heart. There's an effortless recognition of what they are and what I am, together.

Which, I think, home is. An effortless recognition—certainly not an uncomplicated encounter. Recognition is generally a fraught endeavor. But the meant-ness of home is something that can't be manufactured. To find an inexplicable comfort in seemingly meaningless moments such as snowfall or the smell of overcooked potatoes is the quality of home.

When we find this quality in another human, we call them friend.

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