Our west coast world is cool and damp and smells of wet leaves and fur. When it doesn’t rain for months and months we forget we live in a rain forest and we get used to the smell of sunny summer. Sun smells like heat, of course, but more than that it’s the smell of everything and everyone, all the open windows letting out fabric softener, shampoo, coffee, toast. We are aware of each other when it’s hot. It’s harder to hide in your house-cave — although it would be more practical.
I’ve been going for a morning walk every day this week, before the kids get up. Rather, before the kids are allowed out of their room, since if I tried to do anything before they got up I would have to be out at 5:45. It’s light at 6:25 or whenever I make it out of the house but there aren’t any people around; some people wait at bus stops and plenty of cars are swooshing by, but mostly I just walk quietly past peoples’ closed doors. One morning I could hear a shower running and it struck me how intimate a sound that is. The water I’m listening to is hitting a naked body. Showers have a unique sound; not like rain or a running tap. The distance the water travels, the thickness of the drops, whether they cascade past or drip all over a person before they hit the shower floor; all of these make a difference to what you hear when you hear a shower.
It makes me feel fond of people, to hear a shower through an open bathroom window, and feeling fond of people is such a nice way to start the day.