Eric Mayer

Byzantine Blog

Get Email Updates
Cruel Music
Diana Rowland
Martin Edwards
Electric Grandmother
Jane Finnis
Keith Snyder
My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
Mysterious Musings
Mystery of a Shrinking Violet
The Rap Sheet
reenie's reach
Thoughts from Crow Cottage
This Writing Life
Woodstock's Blog
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

1482245 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Scent of a...?
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (7)

The olfactory sense is not well served by language. Smells are not easily described beyond linking them to their customary sources. The smell of a rose is easily distinguishable from that of a wet dog but how does one delineate the particular characteristics of each without reference to the rose or the dog?

And yet odors are probably more important in our lives than we realize, influencing us at non-verbal, subconscious levels. They seem to form strong associations in our minds. A few days ago unseasonable temperatures caused a brief thaw and as soon as I went outside to the car I thought, "It smells like spring."

Does anything recall autumn and summer like the smells of burning leaves or newly mowed grass? The scent of pine boughs indoors brings back memories of childhood Christmases when our trees scrapped the ceiling, pine branches edged the mantle and pine-cone studded wreaths decorated every door.

So I wasn't surprised recently when Mary used a new all-purpose cleaner on the kitchen sink to find myself borne into the past by the oddly familiar smell, a memory from a young man's life, the scent of.... What?

Not nostalgia for some long lost spring cleaning certainly. Every time the cleanser came out the odor teased my memory. I knew it. Remembered it well. However I couldn't quite put my finger -- or perhaps I should say my olfactory lobes -- on it. It was maddening.

"The bottle says it's scented with lavender," Mary told me.

Lavender? Yes. Of course! The mystery fragrance did suggest an exotic perfume, didn't it? Now I realized there was something bittersweet about the hidden memory. Had my mind suppressed an event? Had someone in my past worn lavender? I recalled feelings of both longing and ultimate disappointment. Is it possible to hide an important relationship from oneself? Perhaps if the shock of its ending is too much to bear?

Then, as recollection often does, it all came back in an instant, like a light going on in a dark room, illuminating the blood, the severed head, the corpses. The trio of bestial, murderous hamsters I'd briefly owned. Three went into the aquarium but only one came out alive. What I remembered was the smell of the hamster bedding. The smell of the rodent section of every pet store and department in which I had stood, nose pressed to aquarium glass, longing for hamsters of my own.

I looked it up on the Internet. Indeed, at least one leading brand of rodent bedding is lavender scented. We're going to have to change our all-purpose cleaner.

Read/Post Comments (7)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.