Triggering a Memory, from Smell or Sound-Part One…..

     We had just turned the corner into our subdivision when Howard tuned to me and said, “I smell smoke.”

     Last Saturday we were on our early morning walk with our “girls”. It was a beautiful morning and I was walking along enjoying our stroll happy to have my “pack” with me. I had also smelled the smoke and my mind drifted to a pleasant memory that took place many years ago.

     I was interrupted from my reminiscing, when Howard stated “I wonder where it is coming from?” I then heard a hint of concern in his voice, which I did not feel myself, because I was in the past, reliving.  I believe his concern, over smelling the smoke, was triggered from last summers horrible forest fires in our area.

     Smelling certain odors and hearing certain sounds are powerful triggers to the brain, calling up memories mostly from childhood, but not always. The brain is a complex organ and more often then not, truly mysterious to me, in how it functions.

     I don’t understand how these triggers work, something to do with the olfactory bulb being closely associated with memory and feeling. What I do know is when triggers happen and the memories are good ones, I am thankful for them.

     After my experience last Saturday of having a memory triggered by an odor, I thought it would be interesting to write a few personal stories. I decided to write about this subject in multiple posts/memories, because of the length. This is Part One, so look for others.

     ~ Part One ~

     The pleasing odor of wood burning in a fireplace…..

     Always brings me back to the late seventies and our first ski trip to Aspen, Colorado. There were six of us and this particular trip was the first of many.  We all lived in the suburbs of New Orleans and thank goodness we discovered how much fun a skiing vacation could be.

Aspen Ski Trip (a long time ago)
Aspen Ski Trip (a long time ago)

I found this old photo and scanned it. From left to right: Howard, Gay C., Gay M., Sheila, Harold and Don was behind the camera as usual.

     After an enjoyable day of skiing, we would walk through the beautiful downtown area of Aspen, bundled up in heavy coats, hats, gloves and scarves on our way in search of a delicious meal and to relive our day on the mountain.

     The cold, mountain, air and the flame inducing peacefulness of a fire are invitations for people to light their fireplaces, thus the strong smell of burning wood in the air. It was an exciting time spent with friends and I found the smell of smoke in the air a pleasant one.

     Odors and sounds triggering fond memories, mysterious why it happens, but always a welcome experience.

     What fond memories are triggered when you smell a certain odor or hear a certain sound?

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