MAXINE BILLINGS, Photographer & Author

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EMOTICON SMELLINGCan we smell memories?  In my previous post, I referred to something I used to do as a child, and it got me to thinking about how certain smells take me back to my childhood.  Here are some examples:  the smell of wet, red clay (dirt) after it rains and the smell of smoke coming from chimneys or wood burning.  These are just a couple of the odors that bring back to my mind fond memories of the past when times were much simpler .

The Bible says we are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), but I am always so fascinated by the incredible way that the human body functions.  Of course, we know that our brain is our command center, but why does smelling certain things evoke specific memories within us?  How Stuff Works eloquently explains it.  Because we encounter most new odors when we are young, the smells will often trigger childhood memories later in life.  When we first smell a new scent, we link it to an event, person, thing, or moment.  Our brain then forges a link between the smell and a memory so that whatever we associate the smell with at that time, whenever we encounter the smell again, that memory is evoked within us since the link is already there.  Doesn’t sound so complicated when you break it down like that, does it?  However, I think it’s still intriguing.

What are some smells that transport you back to your childhood, and what pleasant memories do they remind you of?

Well, good night.  More later.


(Emoticon Photo-Courtesy of Clip Art)