By Candace Echols

Today I stepped out in the Birmingham air. 

It smelled better than coffee, it smelled like a prayer. 

It awakened my spirit, it awakened my pen.

All at once, I missed every place I’ve ever been.

Thousands of mornings, I’ve had new starts, 

new mercies, all fresh, they clean up my heart. 

Mercy is scented: it smells good, you know. 

It smells just like new-fallen, sparkling white snow. 

Mercy was there in those eggs and that bacon

when Grandma used tried-and-true skills to awaken.

Mercy was Saturday sheets on my head

while teenager me stayed forever in bed. 

It smells like croissants in a patisserie in Nice*, 

It smells like Montana, the river, the peace.

Mercy is Oxford, hot tea before class,

while really smart footsteps click-click-clack past.

It’s the first whiff of turkey on Thanksgiving morn, 

It’s the smell of a baby who has just now been born.

It’s the smell of the windows left open all night, 

It’s the smell of my journal when I start to write. 

Sweat smells like mercy in miles that we’d run 

before Jenna and I ever saw that ole sun. 

It’s the smell of the child who cried out in the night

full of fear, but now is at peace in first light. 

Fire smells like mercy from inside the tent, 

on a cold camping morning, a weekend well spent. 

It smells like cold Mexican sand with my Jim, 

it smells like anywhere that I am with just him. 

Mercy comes to us each time the sun rises, 

every 24 hours, in all shapes and sizes. 

His mercies are new every morning, we know.

It’s because of God’s mercy that anything grows. 

When you are surprised by the smell of the day, 

let it remind you to remember to say:

“Thank you, dear Father, for all that you’ve done, 

for my thousands of mercies that cost you your Son.”

Then soak up the mercy and live in his care. 

Wherever you are, you can know that he’s there. 

He won’t ever leave you, not daytime or night, 

but every morning, he reminds you with light. 

*pronounced /niːs/, NEESS

StoryBoard features “The Yellow Chair ChronEchols” by writer Candace Echols. Candace recently published her first book, the children’s book Josephine and the QuarantineCandace is a Midtown resident, wife, and mother of five. She has written for StoryBoard’s Page One Writing Workshops, and writes in quiet moments from her yellow chair.

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