Have you ever noticed how certain scents take you back to that certain place and time? One of those smells for me is the smell of eucalyptus trees. When I was first teaching school, a long time ago in Southern California, I was getting my master’s degree at the same time. Glenn taught at APU at the time so I was able to pay the reduced tuition of a spouse. That meant I had to go pretty slowly if I didn’t want to pay more; since I wasn’t quick, I tried at least to be diligent. The translation there is that I took courses every term, including the summer.
I actually loved summer term. Suddenly those huge reading assignments weren’t so daunting and the memorization for tests was just a matter of scheduling. And on the campus where they held the education courses, there were HUGE eucalyptus trees. The summer sun in Southern California would beat down on them and they would become more and more fragrant as they warmed up. By the time I’d arrive for class there was no escaping that scent. And so for me, the smell of eucalyptus takes me right back to studying John Dewey’s theories of education and memorizing dates for my History of Education course.
Today I started a new course of study: Graphic Design. It’s a completely new experience. It’s a community college or JC if you will. And I’m a good 20 years older than most of my fellow students. (yikes!) But it looks to be a really good program and I am eager for the discoveries that lie ahead.
Of course it was not without it’s hiccups. It took me fifteen minutes to find a parking place. And I’m pretty sure I’m older than at least one of my instructors. I couldn’t get the online distance learning piece to work because they’ve entered my birthday in February, not December, so the password didn’t work. And somehow I’m registered under my maiden name since I attended there 150 years ago for a GE course in Psychology that I took one summer way back when.
But all of that is worked out now, well, except my name, and I wanted to tell you this: It’s the rainy season here. (Let the “it’s raining in Portland” jokes ensue.) As I walked out to my car after class today I passed a stand of cedar trees. It had rained heavily during the morning but it was dry when I passed. And I could smell that fresh, kind of biting scent of the cedars. I wonder if ten years from now, when I catch a whiff of cedar if my mind will automatically turn to line and form, contrast and harmony, texture and balance and I’m grateful for this new adventure.