Saturday, September 8, 2012

something in the air

Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.                          ~Oliver Wendell Holmes  

Like our other senses, smell blesses our lives. It serves to bring beauty into our world, relax us, warn us, tie us to our beloved, enhance our other senses, and serve as a time transporter.

There is more than one reason that we love to have bouquets of flowers grace our homes. Not only to they add beauty for our eyes, but their fragrance too, add to their allure. A trip through a botanical gardens or the woods brings delight to the eyes but is magnified when we breathe in the heady scent of our surroundings.

Essential oils or scented candles fill the air. We can close our eyes and sit back or lose ourselves in a good book. Relax in a warm bath or curl up under a comfortable blanket. There once was a time that I'd climb into a hot bath, good book, candles and a glass of wine close by.  It has been a long time since I've allowed myself that luxury. Perhaps it is time to bless myself again.

Long before we might hear the pop and crackle or see the licking tongue of flames, we smell fire. Certain medical issues can be detected by odor.  Smell warns us of a dangerous gas leak. Smell is also what leads us to rotten food.  

When we care about someone, we also incorporate their scent into our senses of what we love about them. That is why when my husband is on a business trip, I wrap my arms around his pillow.  Widow and widowers sniff the clothes of their lost spouse.  Whether we are aware of it or not, our scent binds us to those we love. 

Without our sense of smell?  Well, that steak would be flavorless. Our mouths would not be watering in anticipation of the bread baking in the oven. We would lose about 80% of what we taste. That would be a great heartache.

But lastly, smell makes us time travelers. When I smell that strong, pungent odor of skunk, I am again twelve years old lying in bed with my cousin in Tennessee. Even for a girl who went camping most weekends in summer, I had never smelled it before.  The smell of cigar, so often thought unpleasant, reminds me of my grandfather and days spent with him and my grandmother.  And the scent of rain on red clay? Then I am transported to Tennessee where I was the youngest granddaughter and my moniker of sissy was a title of love. 

That odor? Well, it's a blessing that you call smell from a mile away!

Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.                           ~Vladimir Nabokov


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