Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Smell, It's a Brain Thing

It rained again last night. There is a 40% chance of rain every day this week. While this area was once a little dry, the yearly rainfall behind the last year or two, it now has caught up. This afternoon a few hours of sun came out. The air was fresh and cool and clean-smelling. We did some deck sitting and watching wrens zing into the birdhouse, robins pull wiggly worms from wet soil, and neighbors mowing while they had a window of chance. We all were absorbing the sunshine while we could.

Once we finished our lunch, we both read. DH was finishing American Sniper and I was reading searching for sunday: loving, leaving, and finding the church by Rachel Held Evans. This has been a tremendous read, the kind of book you read through once and then read again to underline meaningful passages to remember. The author was reared in an evangelical church in Tennessee. She went on a church odyssey before settling into an Episcopal congregation. In her book she works her way through the sacraments along the way.

In the chapter on anointing the sick, Evans gives a history of oils used in religious context. She recalls that when Moses went to Mt. Sinai, God sent him down with an oil recipe. (News to me.) Says Evans,”…the Creator knew…that the olfactory nerves is connected to the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with memory and emotion, which is why fragrance…or scent…can suddenly flood a body with a memory…Got wanted his people to know his scent. He wanted them to remember.”

The author introduces us to Thistle Farms, an enterprise that trains and helps women suffering from addiction, abuse, or sex trafficking, etc. They support their programs from smelling oils and fragrance items based on lavender, tea tree, mint, and vanilla. I urge you to check out their online sight here at: http://www.thistlefarms.org/

I know smell is important…baking smells can sell a house. Cinnamon can help students do better on a test. Lavender is relaxing…soothing on a pillow, in a bath, or anywhere. My first baby had a musky scent that he still carries slightly. It was reminiscent of my Granny’s own musky skin. Double Bubble gum makes me see my paternal Grandfather. Old Spice WAS my dad. Juicy Fruit gum was my mom’s favorite and the lining of every purse smelled sweet and like a stick of gum. The smell of bacon frying can bring DH up out of a deep sleep!

What about you? A favorite smell or meaningful one in your life?


Elephant's Child said...

Scent is very powerful.
Cinnamon takes me home to my mother's kitchen, when she was still cooking before she dived into the pit of alcoholism. A bitter-sweet memory.

Linda O'Connell said...

Weird, but I love the smell of a damp basement, but not musty. Reminds me of grandma's house.

Linda O'Connell said...

Weird, but I love the smell of a damp basement, but not musty. Reminds me of grandma's house.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Lilacs remind me of my Memere. Hairspray reminds me of my mom (she'd hate that---lol) but also Crabtree & Evelyn's Spring Rain. I wear it because Mama did, I love the scent, and it's like I have her with me all the time.