I once nursed a 1960 Ford Econoline Van around Florida, along with a dog named Bones. I named him that for the mess he made with scraps I got at the Win Dixie Supermarket the day I rescued him from a two by three cage at the animal shelter. But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about.

My van had a small hole in front of the passenger side window where the glass had fallen out. I never bothered to fix it, so when we traveled, Bones liked to stick his nose out to enjoy the rush of air. I suspected he was even figuring out where we were by the smell. Dogs can do that.

When I drove toward Cape Canaveral, Bones came up front from sleeping in the back to hit the hole as soon as he smelled the ocean. He got the whiff long before me and knew what was ahead, stuffing his head and some of his body out the tiny hole to get it all, finally scooting under my feet as soon as I stopped and cracked open my door.

For Bones, the beach was an amusement park, a long, free run, as far as we could see. When the tide was out, there were so many things to stop and sniff, he couldn’t decide when to run or when to stop, his head snapping in every direction. His olfactory cells must have been exploding. For a dog from the pound, the smell of the sea could only have meant one thing – freedom.

And me? It was usually enough to watch from a low dune, breathing as deeply as I could, air that whispered messages long ago melted in the ocean’s scent, hinting adventure – voyages with battles in strange places, sailing ships and rum with pirates, and parrots. and pieces of eight.

The aroma of ocean always restored me, stirring dreams, reminding me of endless possibilities.

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