Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Smell of Hot Grass

On my morning walk, I was hit with the smell of hot grass. Since I am just coming out of allergy season, smelling anything is a delight. But this scent brought a strong memory with it. It wasn't fresh-cut grass, or a lawn after rain. It was specifically a summer smell of sun-heated grass.

I had a flashback of lying on the lawn at the house where I grew up, staring at the sky through the big leaves of a horse chestnut tree. It's a wonderful feeling of freedom and safety. A hot afternoon in summer with no responsibilities or deadlines. Before puberty, before I stopped running through the yard pretending that I was a horse or exploring the darkest jungle of my neighbor's hedges.

It's just a snapshot of an instant in time. I couldn't tell you what came before or after that moment. But the smell of sun-heated grass sent me back to that lovely memory.

Smells can be a very strong trigger for memories. Sometimes the trigger is just for a feeling, not even an image. Or sometimes a person. Certain aftershaves will always remind me of specific men. The smell of french fries and ketchup can send me back to the boardwalk on a New Jersey beach.

A reader once told me that she was surprised by the many smells in my book. She didn't think she'd read another book that mentioned them. I guess I am a scent-oriented person. Maybe that's why I have allergies because my sense of smell is very acute.

And now I'm off to make sure that my current work-in-progress has enough smells.

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