Sunday, March 02, 2014

Sense Memory

It is said that scent is one of the most powerful memory triggers. I have no reason to doubt or debate this. The wrong smell can bring me to tears ~ or anger. The right one can bring back a decades old joy. This morning, my windows are open and it smells of spring. It has been very warm here ~ mid-70s for a while ~ but it hasn't been spring. It's just been warm. As of this morning, it is also spring. I remember this smell from our backyard in Austin, Tom Bombadil sitting on top of the hill, next to the fence, surrounded by almost green grass...from the streets of Philadelphia, when there was still snow on the ground and my breath dusted out in front of me, but this was the smell underneath the bite...from my beloved Boston, sitting on the quad with my long-gone friends, whose faces and laughs are now as clear as if it had been yesterday...drifting in from the window in Worcester, reminding me that even if it felt like my life would never again be easy and peaceful, spring was coming...

But it's not just scent. The other day, I took a sip of orange juice, and I was four, on the island of Antigua, amazed that not all orange juice tasted like the stuff my mom poured for me (filtered through her small strainer, because the concept of 'no pulp' orange juice was still a long way off) in our kitchen in Fredonia. I didn't like it then. Now, the memory is worth the bitter tang and I found myself savoring it.

Or sound. While I am a child of the '80s, having been 10-20 during that decade, I grew up on college campuses, and at high schools, during the '70s. My babysitters were children of the '70s. The girls I wanted to emulate (Mary...Bonnie) and the boys I that were the target of my innocent puppy love (Ross...Steve) were teenagers during that time. The ubiquitous flocks of young people in my world (which happens when your father teaches at the college level, and your mother teaches at the high school one, and both are adored by their students) brought their music with them. On record players and 8-tracks and transistor radios hung by their white plastic straps, with cliched regularity, over whatever was available. The '70s are back in commercials these days ~ specifically Three Dog Night's Shambala ~ and I am awash in images of New York and the backyard and the roof outside my bedroom window. They are so young. I am younger. There is laughter and comfort and love and friendship.

And it is spring.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Ian Lidster said...

You have spring. I want us to have spring. And I love the scent of spring, I do.

BostonPobble said...

Ian ~ I hope your spring comes sooner, rather than later.