I love the smell of decay.
Some people would say they love the smell of fall, but it is the musky-sweet odor of decomposition that rivals any incense in my mind. The scent of decaying leaves is the balm that invites me into a nostalgia where I celebrate what was without trying to make it what will always be. One whiff conjures giant leaf piles, pumpkins, cider, and a calming melancholic reminder that everything has a season.
I'm sure someone has done a study on smells and nostalgia, but I know personally that scents transport me to memories. I want churches to smell like beeswax candles and furniture polish because the mingling of those smells make me a little girl next to my grandma in the pew.
When we were visiting the cathedral in Wales, someone commented on what a good idea the oil filled waxless candles were. I might have sworn. I hate them. With a burning hate. They never burn down visibly and there is no smell of wax. It may be more convenient and less messy, but the last thing the church needs is convenience and tidiness. We need symbols and smells that help us walk through decay and change without despair or denial.
I also love the smell of Vicks. Kirt gets a little weirded out by how excited I get when he puts on Vicks. My grandparents bathed in a mixture of Vicks and Ben Gay. The smell of either immediately surrounds me with remembrances of card games, Pizza Hut, and lots of love.
Please let life smell. I know the landfill can get pretty ripe and a dog rolling in decaying salmon is disgusting, but for most smells it's best not to have heavy perfumes or deodorizers to deny decay. Keep the world a little stinky as a celebration of the sense that transports us to a memory so we may have the courage to face the future.