: views from the Hill

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remembrance of things past

A taste can do it. Proust had his madeleines. Lilikoi/passion fruit takes me straight back to breakfast in Brazil. The cook would pick fresh fruit off the vines on the back fence and make our breakfast juice. My early grade-school self is still angling for a bit more juice.

A scent can do it. I use punks as incense sticks because the scent of punks takes me back to long ago July 4th fireworks. His nibs bought me two boxloads of punks for Christmas a decade or so ago. He could only buy in bulk. I'm set for life.

I was pulled back to sixth grade yesterday when, for the first time in nearly a century (slight exaggeration, but only slight ...), I was wood-burning or, as the swanky like to call it, doing "pyrography."

We're having a party here Sunday and our little path off the Filbert Steps has no signage. Had some wood. Couldn't find the old woodburner in several searches of boxes of stuff, but Amazon came through and for <$20 delivered a new woodburning kit a couple days back. Now I'm in the process of making a street sign soze no one will walk past the turn off the steps.

Yesterday I was fiddling with nibs and brands, heating, cooling, covering up errors with more burning. The smell of the smoking wood reminded me of country reports we wrote back in sixth grade -- hand-written on binder paper (no computers avec printers in those days) and "bound" in wooden covers. We burnt designs onto our covers, stained them, sealed them. We cut off a two-inch or so piece from the left edge. Drilled three holes in the two-inch edge and used leather laces to hold the pages. Added brass hinges to attach the edge to the rest of the cover. Voila! a hinged cover!

My report was on Argentina and the Pampas and the gauchos and Buenos Aires and the Patagonia. No mention of Malbec. The design I burnt on the report cover was a map of Argentina. I don't know whatever happened to that report.

Gee ... over forty-five years ago now. But the smoky scent yesterday took me straight back. (And I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. When I continue on with my wee project, I will make sure I sit up-breeze from the smoke.)

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