…and the Smell of Old Leather

What is it with the smell of old leather? Do you love it or hate it?
Knowing me as a lover of words, Nichole, one of my five daughters (read ’em and weep (5)gifted me a new journal for Christmas. All of those daughters are in their thirties and some are watching forty loom ever closer. I have journal’s dating back to when most of them were in Middle School.
This new journal is leather-covered and smells grand.


Hi, my name is Mike. I am a journal keeper and leather smeller.
Journal keeping is becoming ever scarcer these days. Perhaps rare, only because they/we are often driven underground by mock and ridicule, seen as nerds choosing hovels and holes over the bright sunlight or hypnotic glare of a big flatscreen TV.
Electronic journal keeping has not won me over to the dark side – yet. Everything else can go electronic, and it has, but you will not get my paper and ink journal until you pry it from my cold dead hands.
Not to worry, I have fully embraced electronics, typing this blog post on my Mac over Starbucks Wifi, checking my iPhone for Twitter updates and feeding Instagram selfies via my iPad. Quick call the shrink; I am one sick puppy. Although, if I am sick, you better bring a big bus; there are a lot of us here.
Perhaps the feeling of legacy or durability drives my desire to see ink applied to paper by my hand. In a dark corner of my needy mind, my hope is that when I am dead and gone, some as yet unborn descendant will be crazy enough to dig through my effects and find a lasting nugget or two from the chronicles of my crazy life.
I love the smell of leather, mostly old leather. Searching the subject on Google, I found much to my disappointment that the smell is from the chemicals used to preserve the animal hide. Up until then, my brimming imagination pictured old pioneers stripping hides from majestic Bison and cattle to provide me with an olfactory treat.
The smell of leather promises danger and adventure, something that I lived a lot of in my younger more infamous days. During my outlaw biker days, the leather jacket was a second skin, and though I hate to admit it – GIANT MAN PURSE. Its pockets were full of carburetor parts, weapons and other illegal substances. Up until I experienced an awakening in Christ, there was even a new Gospel of John tucked away in one of the myriad pockets. The thing (the jacket) weighed a ton, and I loved its smell which was a lethal mix of whiskey, blood, oil, gasoline and sweat.
The odor of leather proffers the dream of big adventure much like reading a crime novel or riding a big motorcycle from the comfort of your living room chair.
Boil it down, and sniffing leather is a lot like reading a book, albeit fiction, but a book nevertheless.
And there you have it.
Peace,
M. Matheson

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