Monday, October 19, 2009

I have my very own time machine



I was walking through the grocery store the other day, and I was struck by the red apples that were on display. They were larger than the apples I have seen earlier this season. I picked up one of those luscious looking red apples, and inhaled deeply. I was instantly transported to a different time.

When I was four and five years old, I lived in a rural part of Washington State near the border of Canada on an apple orchard. While my parents were working in the orchard, us children stayed in the car or played amongst the trees that bordered their working area. I wasn't afraid of those cheery trees. There is something magical about that time as we ran through the neat rows. And every act was accompanied by the smell of apples permeating the air.

I have had other smells bring me back to Washington, and to a small ranch house in Tepusquet on the outskirts of Santa Maria, to the backyard of my home on Alvin Avenue, and into the arms of my love when I was first a doe-eyed innocent. Closing my eyes and taking in the smell at those rarified times is like being a child again and reliving something I never wanted to forget.

I found this quote in an article called "Smell and Memory" by Shigeyuki Ito that perfectly describes how I feel my memory and smell are intertwined.

When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered· the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"


The article gives a few scientific reasons why smell triggers memory. It is worth a read.

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