The air in my hometown of Wellesley, Massachusetts has never smelled so fresh. Having been in the concrete jungle of New York City for so long, my nose has grown accustomed to the smell of frat party aftermaths, fumes from beleaguered taxi cabs, and decaying detritus spilled and neglected by trash collectors. Therefore, the air here 202 miles away from the Big Apple is an amenity I never realized I sorely missed.

Driving back home from school with my father after my junior year at college had ended, I noticed a gradual change in air quality. Cruising down I-95 in Connecticut, I began to notice a slightly sweeter scent in the breeze coming into the car from the passing road outside. The many blossoming white flowers of trees on the sides of the highway had sweetened the surrounding air.

Now I am sitting back home in my parents’ house next to the window. An occasional, soft breeze keeps me company as I watch the season finale of Lost. It brings me news of the burgeoning flora and fauna – the flowering dogwood, budding oak and maple leaves – and carries to my ear the sounds of a festive gathering at my neighbor’s house.