October 28, 2009

Scents and Sensiblity

I've been reminiscing a lot lately through my sense of smell. It is said that smell is the sense that most strongly relates to memory. I have found this to be true in my own life, and I've used the memory-evoking power of smell very deliberately.

Beginning in high school, I started assigning certain perfumes or body sprays to specific trips. I think this began after I realized how much I loved using smell to evoke strong memories and emotions. I can pinpoint this to a very specific and wonderful smell--an iced-tea scented body wash. This body wash is a European brand called Fa that I purchased during my family's trip to Hungary when I was 14. I used this body wash during the majority of our two weeks there, and also purchased two bottles to bring home with me. Once returning to the States, I found myself longing to be back in Europe--that enchanting place. So I'd pull out my bottle of iced-tea scented body wash, close my eyes and breathe the smell in deeply. Suddenly, I was back there. I could feel the way I felt when I was there, and this was magical to me. Thus, a habit was formed.

Basically every trip I've been on since then has had an assigned perfume. And other items, such as scented lotions or body wash I brought along or purchased en route, have served this same purpose. I love that for some special trips, I have several scents to serve as my magical time-transporters. Obviously this has resulted in my accumulation of an absurd amount of perfumes, lotions, and body sprays, but they each still have that very special memory-evoking power.

Other scents have unintentionally been assigned to certain periods in my life. For example, I wore Ralph Lauren Polo Sport Woman every day in high school. Whenever I smell this--BOOM--I'm back there. Sitting here thinking about it, I could produce quite a long list of scents I associate with certain periods of my life. I just love that.

I open a bottle, breathe in, and suddenly I am back in time, reliving moments and remembering feelings I had forgotten. I can remember how I saw life at that time. Then I spritz myself a few times, and as I walk out the door into the world in my present life, I am carrying emotions and memories of wonderful times right with me. These scents help me remember where I've been, and help remind me of where I'm going.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Hi Deanne! I just ran across your blog - it's great! This post made me think of an episode in Proust's book, A la recherche du temps perdu. Have you read it? Proust is brought back to his childhood by tasting une madeleine. It's very descriptive and always reminds me how much our senses, especially taste and smell, can evoke memories. Hope you are doing well!


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