At this time of year, few of the flowers are in bloom, so the normally fragrant gardens of Venice are sleeping. On the other hand, people of boughs of pine and holly all over, and there are woodfires going in many chimneys; a cozy, homey smell that is endlessly evocative of Winters of my youth, burnished now by memory from quotidian mundanity to a brilliant and magical perfection of snow, sledding, freedom, and crisp cold.
In making dinner for pyr8queen and myself tonight, I drove out to the supermarket. Coming home with the pumpkin-hatch full of the fixings for a roast turkey-breast dinner (and Winter Risotto, and Brussels sprouts with bacon) I was behind a family station-wagon with a Christmas tree strapped to the roof. I could smell it's fresh pine boughs, and it, too, was endlessly evocative of going with my grandfather on a cold evening to find a tree at one of the mayfly lots that sprung up in the season. He'd bring twine and a hacksaw, and clad in his furry Tyrolean hat with the tiny turkey-feather cockade, resist the pleadings of my sisters and I to get an impractically large tree. He'd pick one, hack away at it's trunk, and tie it to the roof of our station-wagon.
I wanted to follow that car back to their house, where I imagined I would also smell baking ginger-bread, and the ozone smell of freshly cleaned model train-tracks laid down in a simple circle under the tree as an electric train clattered over them.
Instead, home. To cook, to read with cats on-hand, to write, to remember.