Senses and memories


photo by Javier Arce ↩ via PhotoRee

Have you ever walked in a crowd and caught a scent that makes you stand stock still?

Have you ever put the radio on been transfixed by a long forgotten song? A school disco song maybe, a ballad that reminds you of a lost teenage love, a song with family significance?

Have you seen a photo that you perhaps haven’t seen before but makes you catch your breath because it brings back a memory?

I wont pretend to know how the synapses in the brain work,  but what I do know is that certain sights, sounds and smells can trigger one hell of a reaction.

Patchouli oil reminds me of a certain time as a young teen as my best friend always wore it, the smell of a malboro cigarette reminds me of a very hot British summer spent smoking, drinking, hanging out and just being kids.

Occasionally there is a certain feeling in the air, fresh but warm during the summer, usually early morning and I can remember vividly a little girl in Scotland wearing a white tshirt with a pastel butterfly on the front, with blue jeans and slightly rusty orange hands from swinging round and round on a street sign waiting for her friend to come out and play.

Sometime I find myself in that infuriating situation where a memory is triggered but I can’t quite grasp it. I smell something and know it has relevance but what is it? Is there anything more frustrating than that?

There is a catalogue of sense-related memories that I often forget until I experience them again. I’m curious,what scent, sight or sound makes you remember something significant?


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  1. Chicken soup means it’s every Friday afternoon of my childhood. The smell of Rosemary always reminds me of my mother’s stuffing which we always called sage and onion. Freshly cut grass is the school field on a summer’s day. A bonfire is walkinghome from school on a gloomy autumn night. I’ll stop and let someone else have a go now :).

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