familiar, distinct, and strong.

today i was walking to class through downtown holland when i smelled the scent of smoked salmon. and all of a sudden, i am 9 years old again chasing my brother through the docks on the dam. the indian fishing boats are coming in. the sun is just short of noon. the stores are opening. and we are running up the hill to town. 

in the grocery store, we buy fresh cherries and jones soda. then we stop at the shanty for fresh cheese and bread. i always get a sourdough roll, i like the bitterness of the thick bread against the sweetness of the deep red cherries. my brother likes the sharpness of the Wisconsin cheese.

then, to Carlson's for the fish. 1/2 pound of smoked salmon. i don't like the taste, but the smell is familiar, distinct, and strong. and finally, down to sit on the docks, watching the fish eat our bread crumbs and nibble at the pits of the cherries that we spit into the clear, crisp, northern water. 

and then, taking the boat, my brother and i escape to the beach. we're not really old enough to drive, but we push quietly off the back of the sailboat and head out of the rocky pier that protects all the boats, out of the safe harbor. and we spend the afternoon collecting treasures. petoskey stones, coral, sea glass, and sand. i'm best at spotting the stones, even when they're dry on the shore. but dad will yell at us later for getting sand in the boat and weighing the sailboat down with our treasures. apparently you don't really need 200 petoskey stones.  "you should really  leave some for other people to find." 

ending the day on a picnic table that rocks back and forth on a track. the warm summer air filtering through the streets of the quiet little town. eating ice cream. and the stars begin to shine through the deep indigo sky and the sun sinks into the lake, illuminating the islands in front of it before it drops beneath the surface. 

and sixteen sweet summers full of life, adventure, and unadulterated innocence come rushing back.

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