Wednesday, July 9, 2008

smell

smells like my childhood

Sometimes something hits you as beautiful. It has to do with a combination of senses. I had my little point and shoot camera and I had to take a picture here because the light was so pretty and the smell of the place brought me back to a place from my childhood.

I’m reading A Natural History of the Senses. It’s not one of those novels that I sit down and gobble up. It’s been kind of like a bar of fine chocolate that I’ve been hiding—I go and take a little in and let it sit on my tongue and melt in my mouth slowly and then sneak away all satisfied.

“Breaths come in pairs, except at two times in our lives—the beginning and the end. At birth, we inhale for the first time; at death, we exhale for the last. In between, through all the lather on one’s life, each breath passes are over our olfactory sites. Each day, we breathe about 23,040 times and move around 438 cubic feet of air. It takes us about five seconds to breathe—two seconds to inhale and three seconds to exhale—and, in that time, molecules of odor flood through our systems. Inhaling and exhaling, we smell odors. Smells coat us, swirl around us, enter out bodies, emanate from us. We live in a constant wash of them. Still, when we try to describe a smell, words fail us like the fabrications they are.”
~Diane Ackerman in A Natural History of the Senses

What are your favorite smells?

12 comments:

Tamara said...

Hi, smell is one of my five favorite senses! One of my favorite memories related to a smell is of my grandma...she always smelled of the perfume, Anais Anais...

BTW, to answer your question: Blogger has a new element called Blog List...it lets you input the blogs you read and then it will arrange them and you have the option of having it post the last time that person's blog was updated.

Chris said...

I have to admit that while touch and sight are my two favorite senses, nothing evokes memory more strongly for me than scent. A perfume that reminds me of my grandmother, a meal that makes me think of my parents, the childhood thrill of musty old books, etc. There is something very poetic about the sense of smell.

emma jo said...

What a beautiful quote, I had to read it twice to make sure I got all of it. My favorite smells are dirt, grass, baby lotion, my kids' hair after a bath and my husband's head (I'm not sure what it smells like but I like it and I can smell it on the baby after he has been holding her...)

Moxie said...

Oh I just love citrus, Lemons, oranges, grapefruits. Also, just after it rains in the forest and your clothes after a campfire. Really, I have too many smells I love to list them all.

Moxie

WonderGirl said...

Freshly cut grass! It smells sweet and clean. I've stolen a pillow from my husband that is at least 10 years old. It has turned into an uncomfortable lump- but it smells like him! So when we work opposite shift, I sniff the pillow to fall asleep.

calibosmom said...

I just went to Newburyport MA and it smelled amazing! The flowers and blossoms were everywhere and it was blissful. I also enjoy fresh baked bread, freshly bathed kids, cocoa butter at the beach, Lilacs, makeout breath...oh man, I could go on and on...I love a good smell!

Dallas & Krista said...

There is a little compartment in moms sewing machine- when you open it up the smells bring back memories of every Halloween from my childhood. I have no idea why, what does that compartment of the sewing machine share with Halloween?? Nothing that I can remember, but i love that something so small can remind me of so much!

Leigh said...

Jergen's cherry almond lotion. It's what my grandmother always had on her dressing table. I could always smell it in her room when she would let me play dress up and put on her silk stockings, white gloves, and costume jewelry. Sometimes when I am at the store I open a bottle of it and breathe in deeply. Immediately I am back in that room all dressed up.

Kara said...

The beach, the smell of pavement after a rain storm, fresh laundry, a new book, baking brownies, my kids' hair after it's been washed, freshy applied aloe...

HappyBack said...

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Oh, and pine trees and coconut air fresheners. and real coconuts. mmm mmm mmm.

But come on, NAPALM!

jake said...

Funny, I'm actually pretty sure I ate lunch with Diane Ackerman when I was in AZ back in 92. I thought that name sounded familiar and then when I found her site and a picture I thought it must be her. She was visiting my comp, either nephew or some relative. She seemed interesting to me and a touch looney. Could be a totally different person I suppose but I felt "famous cool" for a moment regardless.

jake said...

...my comp's last name was Ackerman.