Jul 11, 2011

Do You Smell That?

I have been thinking about smells lately. How they can instantly flood my mind with so many memories.

When we got our 3 cubic yards of pine mulch delivered a couple weeks ago and it was sitting there in the warm sun and I smelled it and I was so happy. One deep whiff of pine mulch and all of a sudden I was sitting somewhere in a pine forest with my favorite person in the world talking about life. Yeah, one sniff of pine mulch did that to me. Pretty powerful stuff :)

Later that same day I smelled a campfire as I was delivering newspapers with the kids and I realized that a day with the smell of pine mulch and campfire both in it was going to definitely do me in. Those are two of my favorite smells and when someone who never has been, and never will be a realist smells their two favorite smells in the same day....nothing good can ever come from it. Campfire smell....sigh....this one has some oh so happy memories...followed closely by some oh so sad memories. But no matter how painful the memories that campfire smell makes me remember I will never, ever hate it as long as I live :)

I have been noticing smells lately and taking note of which ones make me feel content and what they make me think of. It seems like my life has been so fast and busy that I have not taken time to....smell? :) Strange the things you think of when you have the time :)

As I planted my tomato plants this year that warm tomato plant smell flooded my mind with memories. But warm is the key... cold tomato plant = no smell, warm tomato plant = summer :)

When I went strawberry picking with Tatiana and Natalie in early June and I was crawling down the rows of strawberries deeply breathing in the lusciousness of straw and strawberries. I was immediately transported (yes, can you handle a Star Trek word here? :) back to those summers between my years of high school when I would pick strawberries and make barely $100.00 a summer yet, have the time of my life with my friends. I love strawberry smell.

Today while I was driving Natalie on the paper route we drove into a driveway that had just recently been black topped and Natalie got out of the car to deliver the paper and when she got back into the car we both grinned at each other and declared "that is a great smell." But this is another smell that is simply the best warm.

And while I was sitting here blogging about smells my Madeline walked by with a king size Sharpie marker with the cap off and handed it to me and I did breathe....deeply.....so bad...but fabulous smell that reminds me of moving....you know writing on the moving boxes :)



New Shoes

Leather jacket

Freshly cut grass

Roast in the crockpot on Sunday when you come home from church

All of a sudden I feel like we should be singing about it to the tune of My Favorite Things..... so channel Maria Von Trapp and sing with me.....

Black snow tires and diesel with tractors.

New shoes in boxes and leather jackets on best friends.

Freshly cut grass that melts into spring. Roast in the crockpot's a favorite thing.

So, I did some googling and some reading and smell really can bring back memories, it can influence your mood, and even affect your work performance. When you first smell something you link it to an event, a person, a thing, or even a moment. Your brain forges a link. Your emotional brain and your smell receptors are neighbors in your brain they are linked more closely than any of the other senses, they did not invite the other senses to live in the neighborhood at all. But being such close neighbors does not really do a ton of good. I mean you can't smell a chocolate cake while you are studying for a test and then bring that chocolate cake smell with you and expect it to help you remember what you studied. The memory recall you get with a smell is an unconscious one. DRAT :)

There are some smells that I hope I get to smell again someday. Smells that I know will make me feel like I have come home...unconsciously :)

1 comment:

nanci said...

My son, Dan, recently told me a story of a missionary from a farm in Idaho that kept a small piece of a dried cow pattie in a jar - whenever he would get homesick he would open the jar, add a few drops of water and take a whiff. (His companion must have LOVED that!)

One of my friends talks about how the smell of a wet potato instantly transports her back to her childhood, standing at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes with her mother.

Ahh, the memories a smell triggers. Some of my favorites - fresh cut hay, warm milk direct from the cow, lilacs, roasting turkey, apple pie....I could go on and on.

Thanks for the reminder to stop and smell the roses (or whatever).

And yes, I did sing along to "my favorite smells" when I read that part of your post.