Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.
I work daily in a transporter room. It’s a greenhouse, a large A frame structure with pipes, red wood bars some have glass some have inflated plastic as a roof. There is a ridge at the top about 4 inches wide, the bars are pitched high about 20 to 30 feet. There are benches that we call beds,
The whole building is a memory, the noise it makes when the wind blows, the way light streams in and the suns warmth fill the air. The humidity as the plants that fill the beds give off moisture at night.
Early memories are head high with the concrete benches at my grandfathers greenhouse. Looking up to towering snapdragon dwarfed my already small state. The smell was intoxicating rich. It was the sweet smell of the cut flowers but it was the beginning of the magnet that pulled me in.
My earliest work was on scaffolding on top of the greenhouse roof. painting and reglazing the glass. 16 inch wide panes or “lights” as the old timers would say. A gang of my cousins and uncles would all work together. One summer was the outside the next would be repainting the inside. It was always a fun but hard work time. maneuvering the planks of wood from one scaffold brace to another was a lesson in team work.
When I walk into our greenhouses every day I am transported back to childhood memories. They usually involve my granddad, who I would follow all the time as he checked and closed or opened the vents, turning the big wheels to lower the glass wall opening. It was great to be tall enough to spin the wheel by myself.
The mist lines are a transport. We spray water over cuttings intermittently through the day untill they develop roots on their own. This is an art to learn when to adjust the spray. I would watch my grandfather unclogging nozzles and fixing the prongs of the old style timers to come on at certain intervals.
But the smell when you walk into a greenhouse is the ultimate transport. It’s the soil, humidity and plant life all together beckoning you to enter their home and live breath and work.
These childhood memories connect me to my past generations. my grand and great grand parent, my uncles and cousins. The memories also connect me to the world, where the many plants we grow have their beginnings.