Just my Thoughts

Your Senses – Smell

I have been doing some creative, or possibly not so creative writing involving memories and senses.  Your senses trigger so many things but one of the most important things they tend to trigger is memories.  I am going to, over the course of several days, post different memories triggered by one of our five senses.  These are creative writing pieces but most are based in fact.  Not sure what that makes them – personal essays?  Here is the first.

I folded up the towel he use to use when he was here today, knowing that he would never use it again.  My mind went back to the first time he used the towel, the smell of his hygiene products in my small bathroom, the sight of him getting dressed in my bedroom.  These are things that will live in my memory for a long time.  They will not be in my life again.

The memory of that scent, his scent drew me to another item in my home.  It was a shirt he had given me.  I was his support person for a large event in his life in October.  Two weeks later he had another event and I did not see this accomplishment.  We both have very busy lives.  The time we spent together was whittled out of those busy lives.  As he once paraphrased someone else, if we want to be with people, we MAKE the time.  Anyway, he gave me the shirt from that second event as he thought it was ugly.  Not only did I love the colors, I have memories of putting it on the first time.  I threw it on as a night shirt.  I immediately, the next day, asked what laundry detergent he used as the smell was wonderful.  It was not laundry detergent.  There is atradition to wear the shirt the day/night of the event.  He had showered and worn the shirt that half day and then given it to me.  The scent was him.

The scent of him.  Smell.  A sense we use only infrequently and when we talk, when we write, the sense of smell tends to be associated with food or with stenches.  In my mind, the sense of smell is associated with people.  It may be a stink, that smell after you finish exercising and really need a shower.  It may be a cleanness, that smell after you have showered and done nothing else – no body lotion, no hair products, just soap/gel.  It may be a scent, that smell of his cologne, that smell of his body lotion.

The sense of smell tends to be strong.  I have read a fact that people can recall a smell with 65% accuracy after a year where as visual recognition of a photo is only 50% after three months (http://www.senseofsmell.org).  Now I know why the memory of that scent has drawn me to write this morning.

What smells do you have in your memory bank?  Do they remind you of good times or not so good times?  Are they smells associated with people, events, holidays, food?

6 thoughts on “Your Senses – Smell

  1. Wonderful post! Smells are so sensory, and neglected too often as a source of pleasure.

    All my “fragrant” memories are good ones. Cooking aromas, the sweetness of soft rain on a spring day, particular perfumes that may conjure a time in my life or a different country or sexual memories which are as spicy as the scent dabbed on a pulse point.

    A certain laundry odor (clean) makes me think of my older son (obsessed with Febreze) – and I always smile. Charcoal and pencil and paint odors conjure my younger son from the time he was little. The smell of coffee – anywhere, anytime, makes me feel relaxed.

    Good stuff, no?

    1. I don’t know that I ever recalled smells as much as those that were triggered in this experience. It is so odd.

      I love certain cooking smells also.

      Great stuff!!

  2. Smell is my strongest sense! I associate people with smells more than anything else. My mom has always smelled like Chanel perfume, raspberry jam and lemon Pledge. It sounds bad, but it smells good. Growing up, my sister smelled like Cornflakes.

    I know, I am odd.

    1. That is fantastic, TKW. This experience I wrote about was one of the first times I ever associated a certain smell with a person.

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