The Memory of a Scent
Article ID: 13011
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: August 2nd. 2009
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Sometimes we all just need to breathe. Breathe in the dozens of scents on the earth. Everything has a scent: the rain, the soil, the cold, the warm, the snow, the sunshine, the fire, the wind…everything has a smell.
I fill myself with these smells each day. I breathe them in, and each one evokes a different emotion, a different sensation, and a different memory.
I sit in my room, the smoke of my new Dragon’s Blood incense swirling around me. The scent takes me back to a time in eighth grade, when my friend Kat and I were at our friend Hayley’s house. We were sitting on her floor, listening to Evanescence and talking about Wicca when we decided to go astral traveling.
And so we set down a blanket, cast a circle, lit candles and Dragon’s Blood incense at each of the four corners, set Kat’s crystal in the middle (the crystal was red, and set me in a trance just by looking at it) , and held hands to astral travel together. We all were in a light trance, and I opened my eyes just for a moment.
The smoke from the incense was filling the room; dulling the candlelight and making everything look magickal. The smoke seemed to twist and turn, revealing images of roaring dragons, giggling, mischievous pixies, and all sorts of other creatures, smelling of the Otherworld.
When I looked at Kat and Hayley, they still had their eyes closed and seemed unbothered by the strange forms surrounding them. The smoke creatures tickled my arms, and when I blinked, their images went away, so perhaps it was just my imagination.
And still the scents of the world evoke images and feelings within me.
The smell of bacon simmering on the pan reminds me of when I was little, and I used to steal my dad’s bacon when he turned away.
The smell of the Anchor River tickles my noise and reminds me of the days I spent inner tubing.
The sweet scent of the snow takes me back to times skiing at the Alyeska Ski Resort.
Indeed, even the moonlight has a scent. I lay in my bed at night, the moon sending shivering warmth down upon my bed, and I bask in the moonlight’s scent; a scent I can never even begin to name or describe.
Can we give a scent a name? A scent is a distant memory, long forgotten. A scent is an emotion we cannot explain. A scent is the silent dance that weaves its way through the air.
Your nose can name and recognize a million different smells. The nose is still not completely understood by modern science. It’s a wonder how the nose can pick up smells from far away, how it can place them, how it can recognize them, how it can recall them from your distant memory. And when there is a smell you have not smelled before, it relates the smell to past smells and scrambles around in your brain for a word to call it. And once it smells a smell, it never forgets it.
Can you recall the first scent you have smelled?
Is it the scent of your mother’s blood as you burst out of her, screaming and crying for grief of leaving the warm womb?
Is it the scent of your mother’s breast milk?
Is it the scent of the room in which you were born?
Or perhaps you can’t remember that time. Maybe your first smell was the smell of the dust in the road as you walked to school for the first time.
Maybe it was the smell of your favorite food, just before you ate it for the first time.
Maybe it was the smell of the winter air, as you saw snow for the first time.
Maybe it was the smell of the kitchen, where a million different foods are cooked.
Or maybe it was simply the smell of life, which you continue smelling at this moment.
Perhaps you can evoke the memory of the smell of the Goddess, the first time you experienced Her in all Her beauty, whether it be through astral travel, or through a dream, or when you stepped before a vast mountain range, or when you stepped in front of a huge tree larger than any you’ve ever seen, or when you looked in to the face of the most beautiful girl you’ve ever imagined, or when you held a baby close to your breast.
Can you remember the smell you smelled yesterday?
Can you remember the memory that went along with it?
I remember the smell of tears, running down my mother’s face when her mother died. Though I didn’t remember my grandmother, I cried for her, and I smelled the sea-salt smell of my own tears.
I can remember the smell of the day when my dad began to build our cabin, and the air was heavy with hope and the scent of the coming spring.
I recall the scent of pain, when I burned my finger while camping.
I can recall the smell of my memory itself, thick with nostalgia, regret, comfort, and promise.
Can you recall the scent of yourself?
Can you recall the scents of your memory?
"Your sweet scent
Lingers on the sweater I lent you.
The breezed smell
Of the beach we stood on,
Lingers on my jacket,
Just waiting to leave.
Each time I bring myself near to them,
Slip on the sweater,
Or pull on the coat,
I fall into a dreamland.
I am not in love with you, though,
But with Me.
I have fallen in love with
The person you have made me.
I have fallen hard.
As that scent disappears
I can only look back
Through my mind
And the few snapshots
We'd captured on that beach that day
But I soon realize
That I will never forget your scent.
It will linger on me forever,
not matter how much the wind blows
to try to steal it away
or how much time passes...
Your scent and your effect,
Remain in my heart
Never being blown away."
(--A Lingering Scent, by Penny roe, poems-and-quotes.com)
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