It is either the scent of a memory, or the memory of a scent that prods me to keep poking through the charred, black rubble. The December sky was always gray, and it was so odd to be standing in what used to be our cozy, dark living room underneath that gray sky. Inside outside. The outside all burned up, some of the inside left, if singed, around the edges.
We poked among the snow-dusted rubble. Any salvageable item would be carefully plucked from the charred black, placed in a pile. The scent of the memory was heady, almost sticky. Every salvageable item we'd find would have this cloying scent, the scent of a fireplace, almost sweet. The most impressionable image burned into my five-year old mind: the melted gaping maw of the glass and plastic television.
We moved across town, where I had to start finishing Kindergarten, attending a new school.
My memories of the days and months that followed were, in a word, weepy.
In hindsight, it seems kind of silly, but still do I remember weeping. I remember my weeping mother, boxes of tissues, weeping about the house plants and the kitties and the books and her crochet work and the pictures: the life we'd had in our small yellow house. She especially mourned the house plants: the spider plants she'd lovingly nursed from shoots.
Some time between the time I completed kindergarten and started first grade, we left Alaska. It was another change: back into the red Toyota Corolla station wagon and on the road again, back to the lower 48.