Friday, 23 February 2018

Smell...one of the senses

As I sit and write this tears are in my eyes as some of my late husband's favourite music is playing. I was okay whilst the rock and roll played (I had a jive with the door handle), but what finished me was 'At Last '.....so my senses are still attuned to memory. Such it is with the sense of smell .

Aromas can quickly transport us to a different place, a different time.....a distant forgotten memory wells up from the past.

Smells can be uplifting. Recently its been that faint aroma of spring growth. It's not a perfume. It's more subtle. It's a newness. A reawakening. It lifts the soul and gladdens the heart. The weight is lifted from our shoulders and we shrug off winter's heavy mantle. Each season has it's 'smell'. Warm summer days smell of warm undergrowth. The evenings bring a tang of the sea (if one lives by the shore) or a peaty scent from the mountains. Autumn brings faint smells of decay, that is intense when we kick through the leaves under our feet. Winter is fresh and tangy. Does cold have a smell ? Well anyway we wrap a scarf round our mouths and are enveloped with the smell of the damp wool as we inhale.

Sensory gardens are wonderful for partially sighted persons (in fact for everyone). Each season brings different perfumes and the gardens are planted specifically with scent ...and texture...in mind. As many plants don't exude their perfume until they are brushed or crushed.

As for myself , I have a favourite perfume - Bronnleys English Fern (not available now as I've searched high and low ) ...but I have a stash stored away and the products are used on special occasions. It has been my favourite since I was 17, when I received it as a gift. So that takes me back to those teenage years, those early loves, those days when I didn't visualise getting older!

My father was very proud of his garden, which was laid to the growing of vegetables, with flowers relegated to the front garden or under the kitchen window. Every year he sprinkled 'stock' seeds and on warm winter evenings the aroma would drift into the house.

 Of course not all smells are pleasant and we quickly wind up the car windows if they are muck spreading! As individuals we can find different aromas pleasant or not. For me I can't stand the smell of parsley - especially when being chopped. This wasn't much good for a cookery teacher. I actually find the smell nauseous ! I don't like 'heavy' perfumes and often have an allergic reaction manifesting itself in serious sneezing. So again that can be difficult in the dance hall!

Cooking smells can make us salivate and in fact improves digestion and enhances the eating experience. It's complimentary to express "That smells good", to our hostess.

Animals use smell and they have a much keener sense of smell than we have. Search and rescue dogs use this when working. They greet each other by sniffing. It's thought that some dogs and cats can detect illnesses. My disabled friend has an assistance dog who detects when he is about to have a Potts attack and brings the medication. So just how ?? Do we give off some change in chemicals that alerts the dog ? It's a science still under review....

My poem today was written in 2014 and is about the senses.

     THE SENSES

      That certain piece of music
      Evoking distant memories -
      Childhood, family, dancing,
      Love, despair, laughter, grief.
      A tune stored deep in my soul
      Steps forward - makes me remember.

      That aroma briefly caught in the air
      Evoking distant memories -
      A forest, a building, a person,
      A love, an ocean, a cut lawn.
      A perfume stored deep in my soul
      Comes to mind - makes me remember.

      A touch, the sensitivity of my fingertips
      Evoking distant memories -
      A pet, a garment, a wall., a tree,
      Tall grain, a lover's skin, seashore sand.
      A sense stored deep in my soul
      A feeling recalled - makes me remember.

               
 
My picture is of gorse which grew in profusion on the cliff below where I used to live and smelt of
desiccated coconut......

Thanks for reading..breathe deep... smell the coming warm days ! Kath

Reactions:

3 comments:

Steve Rowland said...

I really enjoyed reading this Kath - a movingly written blog and a beautifully crafted poem. Thank you.

As for gorse, I've always admired it but never realised it smelled of coconut...never wanted to get my nose that close!

Anonymous said...

Ah, the 'Door Handle Jive' ;-)

Adele said...

Lovely poem Kath.