Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Writing 101, Day Eighteen – Scents and Then Again, Smells

on June 25, 2014

All around me and always I’m immediately aware of sound, colors, the feel of things, and tastes. In the present scent can delight the senses and also trigger memories. Smell is a subcategory of scent, important and impossible to ignore.

I haven’t lived in my apartment long enough for it to have developed a distinctive scent for me – like a long-lived-in home has. For Christmas I received a bright green candle with a pungent pine scent that lingered after I extinguished it. I breathed in the scent daily and was sorry when the candle guttered out. I replaced it with a peach colored candle that is supposed to have a mango scent but is too faint to make much of an impression. Then there is my Williams-Sonoma Winterberry hand lotion that has a cinnamon scent good enough to taste. Rubbing it on my hands is almost as good as a having a small snack. In my kitchen there are few scents. Lean Cuisine in the microwave doesn’t count.

Scents can take me like a magic carpet to places in my past. The scent of the Shalimar perfume my college room-mate wore which made me open the windows after she left on a date. The scent of Vix Vaporub my mother used to rub on my chest when I had an asthma attack as a child. The scent of the lilac tree in our backyard in early spring after dark. I couldn’t resist burying my nose in its branches. The spicy scent of the apple sauce cake baking that my mother always made for my birthday.

And then there are smells. Smells alert us to things and give us information. Like the “sniff test” I gave my baby’s bottom to see if a diaper change was in order. And the unmistakable smell that a change was long overdue. The smell that assailed me in the locker room one day when my son and his team mates were putting on their hockey gear that told me the little boys were becoming fledgling teenagers. The terrible odor, worse than a smell, that led me to where our turtle Alfalfa, a gimpy Georgia box turtle, had crawled off to die. The smell of a scorched pan when I cooked my first supper as a young bride.

3 responses to “Writing 101, Day Eighteen – Scents and Then Again, Smells

  1. Joan Tatley says:

    Interesting. In my memory, the smell of the pine-tree combined with aroma of tangerines is a sign of Christmas.

  2. Karuna says:

    I really like your post. It makes me realize I am not aware of how important smell is to me. When I think about it now the smell of cinnamon rolls or fresh bread cooking, the smell of vanilla, the smell of barbeque, and most important, the sweet smell of India come to my mind.

  3. vivachange77 says:

    Smells lovely. Thanks for your response.

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