Here and There

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Smell

A Natural History of the Senses has me thinking about sense experiences in my own life, especially smell. How complex the evocations of smell. For me, the smell of peach lipsmacker lip gloss could instantly transport me back to 8th grade. When I got dressed in the morning, I would lay out the outfit and match it with a lipsmacker flavor for the day. Kind of like jewelry or make up for the girl who didn't wear much of either. Dr. Pepper went well with a jean skirt and sweater vest. Raspberry went great with my Mary Engelbreit "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea nor trees" T shirt. Peach always went with my favorite outfit that year...a long patterned crinkle skirt and a periwinkle T shirt. (You don't really see periwinkle as a clothing color anymore. Too bad.) I had a "pot of gloss" of this peach lipsmacker rather than a tube and for years after it could be found in my dresser drawer or with my unused make up. I would open it up and take a whiff and boom! there I was walking through the back field at my Junior High, in the morning before class started, laughing and being silly with my friends, crinkle skirt hem getting soaked by the dew. Those crinkle skirts are tricky- step on the hem a couple times and they tear, and the only way to fix it is with scotch tape. Re-applying scotch tape to my hem was part of getting ready for the day just like grabbing the pot of gloss.

Recently, I was given some lovely apricot baby oil that smells exactly the same as peach lipsmacker. So now, I think of 8th grade and feeling on top of the world when I pour it in my hands and rub it all over Lily after a bath. 10 years from now I may smell that sweet smell and I will remember being in 8th grade and feeling on top of the world AND rubbing my little squirmy baby. I hope I get a whiff of this smell every once in a while for the rest of my life so can have that bizarre memory blend again and again.

1 comment:

Jood said...

We had an apricot tree in our back yard when I was growing up. One summer we had so many, we made apricot jam. I remember the smell and taste of ripe apricots and the jam bubbling on the stove. It's too bad that the smell has somehow been removed from most fruits that we buy in grocery stores now. The fruits look perfect, but they have no smell and little flavor.