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If your childhood had a smell, what would it be?
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Memories are often triggered by scents. This is something you’ll learn as an aside in various psychology focused courses, and it has even been mentioned on television and in movies. What is so strong about a scent that it triggers memories?
If I were to whittle my childhood down to just a smell, I don’t know where to even begin, because there were so many. There was the scent of the outdoors after rain, after the snow melted, when it was warm, when it was cold. The smell of the fresh air behind my dog’s ear. The smell of baking cookies in the oven, breakfast, or spaghetti sauce on the stove. There is the smell of fresh laundry warmed by the sun, and spread by the cool early summer breeze coming through the open windows. Fresh mown grass. The frog pond. Pine trees, roses, lilacs, and soap. I can even remember the vague smell of the fur of my grandmother’s cat.
Not one of the scents rises beyond the other as the single scent of my childhood. The precious, happy memories of that time are full of could-be scent triggers. They all offer comfort in the face of loss and change. I’m not at all avoiding the question, just struggling to find the one.
One scent that has stuck with me as a favorite is the fresh air caught in the fur at the back of a dog’s ear. Every single dog I have had has had this scent after being outside in cold or temperate weather. It’s not there in the heat. I think that’s because the heat releases the oils in their skin, and their scent becomes stronger.
Nothing else warms my soul quite so much as catching that scent. It reminds me of each one that has enhanced my life. Think of that, though, the smell of pure, clean air on the fur of a pure, clean soul… That whiff is catching a moment in heaven. It breaks the heart by making it swell full. Just thinking of it makes me tear up a bit.
Air is so vital, but so is the love and loyalty of a true companion. Thus, I’d say this is the scent of my childhood. It certainly doesn’t cover everything that went on, or describe my childhood to satisfaction, but I think it gets to the core of who I am, and what I value.
Let’s hop on over to see what the other authors will tell us…