It’s somewhere in the mid 1940s and I am somewhere around 7 years old. It’s somewhere on a summer-crowded Long Island beach, onto which a caravan of my relatives descend every weekend.
Under the striped beach umbrella on a sand-dusted threadbare blanket, I lie on my side, my face buried in the mown-hay smell of a sweetgrass coolie hat. I am lulled by the soughing surf, the surround of soft talkings, the salt-stung breeze, and the brain-sticking smells of sun lotion, sweat, and sweetgrass. I want the moment to last forever.
It is a hot yesterday, and I am sitting in the dappled shade at a pond where we take my grandson to play. I close my eyes and conjure the senses of childhood from the splashes and chatters that drift my way across the busy sand. And I yearn for the smell of a sweetgrass coolie hat.