Aren’t you so grateful we have five senses? To see a sunset, to feel the wind on your face, to hear birds singing, to taste everything you possibly can, and then there is smell. Oh smell….it can be my favorite and then sometimes I despise it. To smell my baby boy when he comes out of the bath and has lavender lotion to help him go to sleep on, is heaven. I could fall asleep just smelling it….favorite. Yet, when we’re in the car and we MUST be passing cows only to realize they are gone and the smell remains in my little boys diaper, I wish that I could get rid of this particular sense for a little while. Needless to say smell can have a powerful affect on people.
Our nose is actually our quickest scent, but it’s greatest power may be it’s affect on our memory. In an article, “The Nose, an Emotional Time Machine”, it was stated, “the olfactory cortex is embedded within the brain’s limbic system and amygdala, where emotions are born and emotional memories stored. That’s why smells, feelings and memories become so easily and intimately entangled.”
I remember when we turned on our heater for the first time a few months ago in our new house. You know that smell when the furnace is burning off dust collected over the summer. I almost started crying thinking about my home growing up and all of the first days of winter I had there. I was so surprised at how just a whiff of burnt dust could do that to me.
“Maria Larsson, an associate professor of psychology at Stockholm University, described the power of smell to serve as an almost magical time machine, with potential for treating dementia, depression, the grim fog of age.” In a study done in Sweden, smell, over words or pictures, brought back the earliest memories in a group of elderly patients. “They smelled cardamom, and there they were in the kitchen, flour dust flying as they helped Mama and Nana roll out the holiday buns. The scent of tar, and they’re back at the dock with Dad, tarring the bottom of the family boat in anticipation of long summer sails.”
Just last week I had another great smell memory….
It takes me right back to going out on the boat when I was younger. My mom would slather this on us, and now I get to slather it on this little guy…
What a fun challenge to think of great “smell memories” for your family!
What are some of your smell memories?