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The Smell of the Place

The woods at Penland

They say that the sense of smell is our most ancient and powerful, wired directly to the hippocampus, the most primitive part of our brain, bypassing the rational, logical, human forebrain as it taps straight into the sensual, emotional memories buried deep in our reptilian brainstem. Former clay studio coordinator Matt Pogatshnik says:

My son Max started summer school this morning. During the regular school year, his bus came at 8:40. Summer School bus comes at 7:30. It rained like crazy most of the night. It’s calm this morning and sultry. It’s supposed to be 90 degrees today and sticky. My wife Katie and I walked out of the house to take Max to the bus stop. Before we realized there was still one kid asleep in our house and one of us would have to stay, we breathed in the moist, thick air, cleansed by the rain and heavy with the smell of plants, taking a hearty morning dump of oxygen. Katie and I took one sniff, looked at each other and simultaneously said, “Penland.”

Snifffffffff. Ahhhhhhhhh.