Scent Memory

March 29 2014 014


I read somewhere that the strongest memory trigger we have is our sense of smell.  I so agree with that!  Many years ago there was a man in my circle, more of an acquaintance actually.  He was attractive and well spoken and he wore the most incredible cologne.  Every time he walked into a room I knew he was there even if I couldn’t see him.  I associated that cologne with him.  You can imagine my surprise when I was in a grocery store and I smelled that particular scent!  He was here!  I turned around with a smile plastered on my face hoping my hair wasn’t sticking up and saw a woman.  She obviously noticed me looking and had a quizzical look on her face.  I was gob smacked.  I muttered something and quickly moved down another aisle.  I rarely smell that cologne anymore but when I do I immediately think it’s him.

I once used a product called tea tree oil.  I never use it anymore, I can’t.  I hear it’s a wonderful product and people have marvelous experiences with it, but I only had one experience.  I had heard that it was good to use  to clear a stuffy nose. I had a cold.  I filled a sink with hot steamy water, put some tea tree oil in and put my nose down in the steam with a towel over my head.  If you have never smelled tea tree oil I can recount to you exactly what it smelled like even though I only used it once about 20 years ago.  It had a strong mossy pine scent.  Think of being in a pine forest in the springtime.  There are lots of needles on the ground and it’s kind of squishy to walk on.  It’s damp because the snow is starting to melt and there is a light chilly breeze that wafts the scent of pine throughout the forest.  I know this because while my head was over top of that steaming water I was jolted back to a childhood memory of playing in exactly those circumstances!

I remember being wet and cold.  I was exploring.  I wanted to see what was under every leaf, every rock and behind every tree.  My curiosity was insatiable!  As a child I would often wander into the surrounding landscape.  In those days we didn’t worry about human predators.  We were kids.  My parents didn’t know half the places I played in, they never worried about me.  In those days if a child got into trouble there was always someone to lend a hand.  Neighbours took care of neighbours and strangers were only strangers as long as it took to be introduced.  I hate to say it but it was a different world.

All the horrible things that exist in today’s world, I am sure were happening 50 years ago but they were not spoken about and they were not as prevalent as they are today.  We live in a world of instant messaging.  News is as it happens and privacy is an illusion.  Maybe I should buy some tea tree oil to transport me back to that idyllic spot in my childhood.  If only…

9 thoughts on “Scent Memory

  1. Jill Dunbar

    Good Morning, Pam – Just getting ready to “Greet” at 9:00 a.m., will look forward to reading “Scent Memory” when I get home. Have a good day and stay warm and dry! XO


  2. Cheryl-Lynn @ Tournesol & Stigmahurtseveryone

    I smell my mom’s various perfumes on someone and It makes me think of her.Tea Tree oil….I used it in my shampoo when I get an itchy scalp; eucaliptus oil is great for sinuses…I just put a few drops in a pot of boiling water and the fumes fill the air…I don’t hover over it though…way too potent:)


  3. emilievardaman

    Scents memories are powerful. I was once transported from an alleyway in Kansas City, Missouri to Panajachel, Guatemala. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay in Panajachel! It was just a flash visit.



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