Thursday, September 1, 2011

Scents of the Past

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.

~Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

As I stood on the pier and looked out over the water, the smell of the lake and the scent of the donuts and corn dogs on the fair grounds behind me brought me back to sweet memories. How true it is that smells can be a powerful trigger to our past.

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