I read a long time ago that scents are one of the most powerful triggers for memories. You walk along, smell something on the breeze, your brain processes it, and the next thing you know, you’re thinking about being at summer camp when you were 12. Pine oil triggers that specific memory every time. We’d wash the floor of our cabin with it once a week and every time I smell it, I think about camp.
I think about the sunshine, swimming in the lake, canoing on the Delaware River. I think about lying on my bunk, writing a post card home that always started with “Dear Mom, Bub, and Elke”…Elke was my dog. I think about how time seemed to stand still for that month I was away…and how I couldn’t wait to go back the next summer. And every time I think about it, it makes me smile.
I had a similar experience today, but the smell wasn’t pine oil; it was lime verbena. I took Trey to the vet and I think the vet tech was wearing it. I know someone was wearing it, because I can pick that scent out every time. It’s one of those scents that I can’t describe easily like pine, or cinammon, or hickory. It’s subtle, but the memories it brings are pretty powerful.
It brings back memories of someone who wore it, someone special, someone who taught me a lot about myself. This person taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. That I could finish what I started. That I could be more than just who I was or who I am. This person helped me to get my shit together better than anyone before, and I will always be grateful for it. I may not have always shown it, but I am. This person taught me that you’ve got to take a chance ’cause if you don’t, life will pass you by.
Every time I think of her, I smell it…and every time I smell it, I think of her…and smile.