Monday, October 20, 2014

In a Scent

 There is something incredibly powerful about the human sense of scent and its link to experiences and memory.

Yesterday morning, I caught a whiff of my coffee as I was driving in the car. Though this coffee is a blend that I drink regularly, for whatever reason, it happened (on this occasion) to smell like a blend of coffee that I encountered well over a year ago. I was immediately taken on a scented, aesthetic mental journey back to two summers ago when I spent a few days in a tiny little town in Northern France.

I was traveling with one of my best friends and we had just had a very difficult and challenging few days due to circumstances that were well beyond our control. When we finally made it to the breakfast portion at our last minute bed and breakfast location, we both breathed the most enormous sigh of relief that our troubles were behind us and God was looking out for us. The smell of the freshly brewed French coffee in that beauitful sunroom that July morning was one of the best smells I had encountered in my life.

It smelt like...

The understanding that everything was now alright. 

Sounds like some cup of coffee, right? All that in a morning cup of jo?

Yes, dear friend, all of that emotional evocation was in my morning cup of jo...and it smelled as real to me today as it did that day well over a year ago. That is the power of scent when mixed with strong emotion.

I have always had a strong passion for scent. I've loved regularly burning fragrant candles for as long as can remember (I am talking almost nightly, people) and receive much of my joy in cooking and baking based off of the scent that fills the house. My favorite part of the four seasons is the distinct scent of each season, each offering its own nostalgic glee.

I can still remember the smell of my teenage boyfriend's cheek when we would kiss and immediately I am eighteen and in puppy love again.

I remember the smell of my sixteen year old high school sister who, in my eyes as an adoring six year old, was the most beautiful girl in the world, and we are riding in the back seat together on our way to school.

I smell Martinelli's sparkling apple cider and I am a child again on Christmas Eve, in total ecstasy and wonder. 

Anytime that I want to be twenty-one again, spending a summer in Florence on the verge of self discovery, experiencing the thrill of exploring a new country on the other side of the world, I spritz myself with the fragrance I wore everyday that whole summer, and I am there once more. 

One thing is certain: Scent is a powerful part of the human experience. It often can help to define and categorize our lives for us. It's a natural way for us to file our experiences away.

I wear perfume every day and have a variety of 4-5 at a time to choose from based upon my mood and what type of scent I feel like embodying that day. I've never been that woman who has her signature scent and sticks with it for years and years. I take great delight in having personal scents that adapt with the days and seasons...just like my life.

I recently purchased a new fragrance and cannot wait to see what season of my life this scent will end up defining. I think that is one of the main reasons why I ended up buying this fragrance: An anticipation of a new season that would need to be defined by a new aroma. I am on the cusp of major changes that aren't yet fully formed or defined. Whatever transpires, these new memories to be created and lived out will now have their very own scent, through which my brain will then delightfully file away for safe keeping.

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