We’ve all had times when the scent of something familiar launches us abruptly into the past—a time with someone special, the loving cuddly smell of a beloved grandparent, or a childhood vacation spot. And it happens immediately, bypassing any conscious thought. Biologically speaking, our olfactory bulb is part of the limbic system, that very ancient part of the brain where emotions, memories and motivations are stored. That’s why smells, feelings and memories become so easily and intimately entangled.
I can easily identify certain smells which take me from the present moment. Chanel No. 5 reminds me of my 16th birthday. The scent of Plumaria lands me at the Honolulu airport for my very first trip in Hawaii when I was 25. The smell of a campfire brings up wonderful memories of Pinecrest Lake where I spent so many summers with my family. I I know many moms, myself included, who have teared up when they catch a whiff of Johnson’s Baby Powder.
Where do certain smells and scents take you? Hopefully to fond memories of joy, fun and special people. Share with us your stories. I’m very intrigued with this magical carpet ride of the nose!