Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Scent Triggered Memories

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.“ - Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses.

Yesterday I took a trip down memory lane….to the places I grew up, the restaurants I frequented for years with family and friends….walked along the lake where we spent almost every weekend and holiday break, winter and summer, and, as I stood across the lake from the boathouse by the water, I remembered all the times I sat up on the balcony, seemingly suspended over the water, watching many a sunrise and sunset and black sky filled with a gazillion stars. The smells brought it all back….the pines the fresh air….even the smell of the maple syrup cured ham sandwiches we used to eat many years ago.

Some of the places have changed drastically, though Au Petit Poucet, seemed like it was frozen in time, servers wearing the same costumes, the walls, curtains and decorations staying the same though looking brand new. Ahh but the smell of the ham and baking maple syrup pies filled the air. That too brought back more memories than I could process.

It reminded me of a time where there was no pressure, no chaotic schedules…..just times by the lake, picking raspberries, walking to family nearby. It was a place where the rest of the world ceased to exist. The same feeling permeated me yesterday as I stood watching that boathouse breathing in the clean country air.

What an amazing feeling. Do you have a place out of time you remember like that? A place where you can travel back in time to, to put life into perspective?

Donna Karlin

* Note: Welcome new subscriber from the Bahamas. 52 countries and counting!

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