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WHAT SMELL/AROMA PROVOKES A GRATEFUL MEMORY? WHAT IS THE STORE OF THIS MEMORY?
The smell of nature: trees and rain not car gas and other pollutions. The smell of nature tells me a story of free spirited and empowering inspirations. It brings the story of my ancestors (people from the land) and the benefits of living from the land and for the community.
The smell of weed (not burnt just the flower pods) tells me a story of carefreeness (the fun times of the 70s). The courage in fashion, expression, sense of self and passion/drive.
The smell of chlorine at first provokes a memory from my childhood past and I think of the uncleanliness of public pools (this is my point of view respectfully so I do not mean to belittle any others beliefs in my entries). HOWEVER with that being said it provokes gratefulness memories because my parents have their own pool and I am grateful for their efforts to provide our family with it since it is something new to us.
My fathers cooking tells me a story of when I was a child and my main worries of the night was what imaginary story I wanted to play out with my barbie dolls as my father fed me his beans :). This is an actual memory and reminds me of family and nurturing energies.
The smell of christmas trees, it always reminds me of my childhood when we’d set up a christmas tree and decorate it while eating sugar cookies and drinking hot cocoa.
If I have to pick something specific, it’s the smell right after it rains on a warm day in early summer. It smells a bit like asphalt, and a little like earthworms, and is very clearly linked to my childhood summers. It reminds me of running barefoot around my neighborhood, playing with friends, walking to the pool, and fishing all in one scent. In my mind’s eye it is late afternoon, no parents around, with a happily screaming group of kids, and I’m not quite 7 years old.
My grandmother’s baking bread–reminds me of love and feeling safe.
PIne needle smell. It’s invigorating and very refreshing, if not provoking “gratefulness.” But happiness and delight.
A week or so ago: swimming in a lake in New Hampshire, emerging from the water, and breathing in the scent of warm pine needles on the bank…lovely! Or when hiking through a pine / conifer tree area, and the scent of pine needles is wafting up from the forest floor, or carried on the breeze.
And going into a plant nursery before the Christmas holidays, surrounded by the fresh, pungent smell of fir. Ahh! Delicious!
Fresh baking straight out of the oven – cookies, cake, a crisp. Wonderful memory of my grandfather in his small kitchen with an apron on, bringing out a fresh tray of cookies from the oven. These days my husband makes fresh cookies or scones while we watch Zoom church on Sunday mornings. For communion they are paired with coffee or tea. Yum!
Sometimes I stop and smell the roses growing along the sidewalk when I walk to my son’s house. I’m reminded of a visit by my college roommate, when we went to the Santa Barbara Mission and she suggested that we smell the roses in their rose garden.
Pine and fir trees remind me of my times spent hiking and feeling deep peace. Most recently I hiked in Colorado and I’ll often recall the hiking to relax and sometimes the smell of pine forest arises. It’s a powerful reminder of my belonging to the earth.
pine and fir, yes!
Bacon reminds me of Sunday morning breakfasts at my parents house and laughter. Garlic always invokes memories of good food and contentment. Forest smells reminds me of peace.
perhaps the fragrance of freshly mowed grass . . .
just running through in my bare feet,
just after the rain . . .
When I was younger, in my early 40’s, I ran daily, early in the mornings. Every day a different route from my house. Two of the routes took my by a beautiful old house with an chain link fence around it. And covering the fence was honeysuckle. In the summer when I was running I could smell the sweetness before I ever got there. And once I was at the house I just had to stop, stick my face in there and breathe deeply. It’s a wonder I was never stung by a bee. I was so grateful for those runs, so grateful for my good health, so grateful for my life at that point in time. That smell reminds me of how good it felt to feel so healthy, young and free.
Vanilla. I’ve always loved the taste and smell if vanilla, and it often takes me back to being a little girl, hanging out with my great-grandma Jewel. She always had vanilla pudding pops for me, and I always loved my time with her. I can still hear her voice…so sweet 💫
Ooh this is going to be hard to pick just one…. I will have to pick the smell of my Nanny’s German Potato salad. The smell of the bacon cooking, fresh cut up onions, and the vinegar mmmmmm. It is so delicious and served warm. I would always be the taste tester for my Nanny. She would ask ‘does it need anything’ and I would always say ‘just a little more vinegar’, lol. Both my daughters, my brother, my aunt and uncle all make her recipe. I love and miss her very much. She was such a great cook.
The scent of Rosa Rugosa and salt air, also known as the common beach plum rose found nestled along the eastern seaboard of the US. It sends me immediately into a calm space as hedgerows of it surrounded my childhood, enclosing our summers in the aura of our tribe. It’s sweetness is accompanied by hovering bumble bees and the sound of gentle surf, gull, laughter and suntan lotion.
We are blessed to experience the 4 unique seasons here. And so, for me, each comes with its own unique scents/aromas. In fall, in the garden and in the woods, leaves fallen and perhaps crunching underfoot, the transforming of plants moving toward the deep cold of winter. Even the beach seems to come with difference scents that envelop colder temps. The stories of these memories are the stories of my life at all ages.
Ivory soap reminds me of my sweet grandmother who washed everything in it.. it was simple and pure, the way she lived and the way life should be.
Woodsmoke wafting through the air carrying a story with it, pungent autumn leaves, a horse named Bubba, the abundance of scents as Spring makes her entrance, new-mown grass, freshly turned soil…all of nature, Creation itself.
I’m Autistic and have a hyper good sense of smell. I can smell and feel some scents from memory.
For example, recently I was lamenting to my boyfriend who lives on the other side of the world whom I’ve not seen due to COVID-19 for over a year, that I couldn’t remember his scent. Suddenly, I could remember it very clearly. Not only his scent in general, but how when standing next to him, it was different within every layer of clothing. I could feel the moisture, also the weight of each layer.
I gag 😬 in the street if people walk past me with chemical based perfumes. They all are nasty except some lemon based men’s aftershave. I can taste it in the back of my mouth for a long time afterward. Room sprays, ugh! Natural organic oils don’t bother me though. Which says something 🤔 I think.
I love ocean. Nature. Food. But, needless to say, if I say the milk is turning and everyone disagrees, believe me it is. 🤣
One time I caught a whiff of pine forest when I was actively recalling a trip to the mountains! I was floored! That sensitivity you have has pros and cons, doesn’t it?!
Absolutely, pros and cons.
I worked on area farms as a boy and attended agricultural high school and graduated from an agricultural college as well. I farmed for twenty years. The aroma of hay curing, a cow’s breath, or rich soil being turned while plowing, stops me in my tracks even fifty years later!
Wow… powerful our sense of smell. I wrote mine before reading yours.
Ocean is my love…
The aroma of a shoe shop immediately takes me back to my childhood. My parents had a shoe repair shop when I was little, and eventually it became a leather goods shop, and then it evolved into a gift shop with jewelry and greeting cards, but always good quality leather purses, billfolds, and jackets. It was divided into two parts; cards and gifts on one side, leather goods on the other. We have two shoe repair shops in our town, and when I walk into them, that smell of leather and polish takes me back to my early childhood. Thanks for the memory!
MMMMMMMM….yes….the deep cool shadows of the tack room in a stable! the racks of saddles and rows of hung bridles!
lilies of the valley.
This is a very personal story, but I would like to share it with you anyway. It seems sad, it is not sad.
When Karel my husband was dying I put a bunch of Lilies of the Valley next to his bed. He loved that smell. When he passed away, the undertaker came and his body was placed in a beautiful blue bag and zipped up by myself. When Karel was brought out, I thought of the Lily of the Valley and at the last moment I unzipped the bag again and placed the bunch of Lily of the Valley between his hands. Very slowly the car drove out of the street, I waved, went into the house and put my head in the dimple of Karel’s pillow. So terribly sad and so many tears. Suddenly a wave of the scent of lily of the valley came across the room. I had never smelled them so strongly. I said “Karel, you’re here”. An indescribably beautiful feeling went through me. I still smelled my hands because for a moment I thought the smell might come from my hands. But no, not a hint of floral scent on my hands. The smell was really in the room and around me.
Comforted by Karel himself in my saddest moment.
Christine, thank you for sharing this beautiful memory. Your story has touched me deeply. I just lost my dear brother & I will forever think of him when I see yellow tulips. God bless you. ❤️🙏❤️
Wowie! What an experience! So sorry for your loss but I’m amazed at this gift you received!!! Karel sounds like he was an amazing person!
Beautifully moving. Thank you for trusting us with this memory. I will now recall this moment of grace when I come across lillies of the valley.
Thank you for sharing this very intimate story. It is beautiful.
Lily of the Valley is my favorite flower and this story brings tears to my eyes. Christine, you yourself also remind me of the wonderful characteristics of this flower: delicate but strong, and beautiful in spirit.
This was so beautiful…. tears are flowing down my face.
What a privilege to start the day with this powerful story! I am so grateful for you all and for this site…
Beautiful, Christine. Thank you.
How beautiful 😍 tx for sharing.
That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing that memory. Yes, I also believe Karel was there with you.
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