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The Smell of Winter

J0428628 I currently live in Cincinnati, but I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, right on the edges of the snow belt. From November to March, it snowed. A lot. There would be times when the snow would melt away, but would always return full-force a few days, possibly a week, later. I have fond memories of playing in that snow.

The lack of snow during winter is one of the (many) things that surprise me about Cincinnati. I mean, I’m in the same state—how could the weather be so different? I moved to Cincinnati in January 2002 (ohmygaw has it been that long?), and it didn’t snow once that “winter.”

Over the years we’ve gotten a few big snowfalls—but the snow only seems to be on the ground for a few days, maybe a week at most, before it melts away again. This winter seems to be a little different, we’ve had a few “big” snows (nothing like the two or more feet my parents are dealing with), but it’s actually sticking around after this last snowfall. And this past week, I was reminded of a smell closely associated with my youth that I completely forgotten about: The smell of a smoke from a wood-burning chimney on a crisp, cold snow-filled night. I swear the scent is different when snow is on the ground. I was immediately transported to my youth—the long days of sledding, frolicking in the snow, making snowmen/forts/women/balls—and walking back to my house smelling that smell, knowing my parents would have a fire in the fireplace to warm the toes. (How quaint, right?).  I stood on my walkway and took some deep, cleansing breaths (as cleansing as smelling smoke can be) letting the memories and feelings wash over me.

I was jolted from my trip down memory lane, by my son asking “What’s that smell?”

Excited to share (and actually be able to answer one of my increasingly inquisitive 3-year-old’s questions), I said “That’s the smell of a wood-burning chimney! It reminds me of when I was a little kid.”

“Weelllll, was it always stinky when you were a little kid?” he replied. 

When Tela isn't standing around smelling snow, she's usually hanging out her 3-year-old son, or working her full-time gig at an interactive marketing/advertising agency. You can read more about her working mom adventures at Working Moms Against Guilt.

Original post to the Ohio Moms Blog.