Sense memory

Posted: April 19, 2005 in Uncategorized

Some things just stick with you so strongly, buried in our subconscious for eternity to be dredged up by the most randomly unexpected things in a sensory hit-and-run. Smells and visuals seem to be the biggest for me, however the two have very different effects. Visual queues give me a sense of deja vous, making me pause like hearing my name in a crowd. Smells however are stronger, instantly transporting me to a moment in time, and my brain starts to wrap it in a flood of memories, some directly related, some tied together with the barest of context.

Today’s smell is summer in the valley in the pacific northwest. The layers are nearly endless, and a resident of any amount of time knows them all, though they may not be able to pick them out individually. The dryness of heat, so sudden and different after a soaking wet spring, drawing the smells of earth and moss into the air. The heady smell of ripe blackberries. The tangy, almost metallic smell of the river, caught in the eddies of cool air that are blown off of its surface. The cut grass and mineral-rich water from sprinkler systems on a well-tended lawn. The sweet scent of pine pollen.

These are the things that, for just a moment, replace the glow of my computer screen with the heat of the midsummer sun.

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