I dislike nostalgia, but I love memory; I like the way it works. No two people have the same memories of anything, and anything, from the taste of fish tacos to the smell of shea butter lotion to a particular song, can call up a shockingly specific memory.
The air at this time of year is dripping with memory. I've never been quite sure why that is, that winter air brings so much more with it than summer air. Maybe because Florida nearly always smells like summer, and rarely like winter.
Since I've graduated, I haven't spent much time on my university campus. I still live very close by, but I've rarely had a reason to be there. Lately, however, I've been going to the library for research reasons...and also just to give myself a reason to be on the grounds. Say what you will about my mid-FL alma mater: I love it. It isn't the prettiest or the smartest or the best at sports or the most well-funded or the biggest but it's mine. Everywhere I walk on its grounds, memories leap out. On the fourth floor of that building, an eighteen-year-old me waited outside a Latin classroom and a cute little redheaded girl walked up and said that she liked my sneakers (six years later, I'm going to be her bridesmaid next month). In the basement of that building I sat with a goofy Italian guy and talked about Watchmen. In the first-floor north corner classroom of that building I fell in love, with a subject and with a man. Before the new student union was built I laid on the hill on its far side and watched Red Eye on a way-too-cold-to-be-outside November night. I studied in that Subway for a math exam. I climbed that tree. I worked in that office park. I memorized a poem on that bench overlooking that pond. I kissed my manfriend for the first time at that curb.
Soon I will be moving far away from here. Soon there will be a whole new city, a whole new state, in which to make new memories from scratch. And when I return to Florida in the winter, since winter is when family gatherings happen, that keen air will bring back all the old, beloved remembrances.