“The sense of smell is the hair-trigger of memory.”

Today is a pretty day and a warm day, in the mid 40’s. I have a few errands later, and I’m glad to be going out. I used to find errands annoying. Now, they are the only break in the monotony.

My den smells like the stores I used to visit back in time which sold woolen jackets with embroidered designs, handwoven socks and those square decorative cloth bags we all carried. Some bags had fringe. Mine didn’t. Everything in the store came from Nepal, which was big in the late 60’s. I used to buy prayer flags to decorate my apartment. The store in Hyannis always smelled of incense. I’m burning incense right now. It smells like the store to me, but I don’t know what the scent is. All the long thin incense sticks smell the same to me. I’m thinking sandalwood. I think they are all sandalwood.

My sister once gave me small blocks of peat to burn and a ceramic Irish cottage peat burner. Peat has a particular smell. It is one of those smells you love or not at all. I love the smell of peat. I particularly remember it from one trip to Ireland. We were staying at a summer hotel before the season. Most of the rooms were cold including the tiny dining room where we were having dinner so they started the fireplace. They used peat. The room warmed quickly and was filled with the aroma of the peat. It stayed on my clothes. I could still smell the peat when I went to sleep.

When I was in high school, my friends and I used to go tobogganing at the Winchester Country Club. It had the most amazing hills. I remember a hill we took only once. We were speeding down that hill when it just disappeared leaving us in mid-air. We flew for a bit. My friend Bobby was in front. I was in the middle and poor Jimmy was in the back. The landing was hard. We slammed against the snow but continued down the hill. Jimmy had almost fallen off when we landed. We sort of dragged him for a bit. We didn’t know. That hill was a monster.

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6 Comments on ““The sense of smell is the hair-trigger of memory.””

  1. Christer. Says:

    I can’t stand the smell of incense but I do like the smell of burning peat. I guess I just visited too many homes that burned insence all day long so I sort of came to hate it 🙂 🙂

    I guess the wind outside now is a bit much to call a storm but it is pretty strong, I can hear the roar but thankfully it miss my home 🙂 I hope it will take away that snow that fell today so we finally can be snow free again. I don’t mind if it gets colder after though, just as long as the snow will go away.

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      I can’t remember smelling incense at anybody’s house. Maybe because it is a peculiar smell, they hold off in case people hate the smell. I used to love the smell of the church incense they used at special masses and such.

      The cold is on its way here starting tomorrow but I don’t care. I have no place I need to go so I’ll be here nice and warm.

      Have a great Saturday!

  2. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I remember winter weather well when I was a teenager in NYC. We didn’t toboggan but we did ice skate on the pond across the street from the High School. I decided that winter weather is better left to those who live elsewhere. 🙂 I wouldn’t want to live in Florida, Arizona or Hawaii because it’s always warm. Everywhere has its issues. Florida has hurricanes, Hawaii has volcanos along with hurricanes, and Arizona is hotter than hell for half the year. A friend of mine was stationed at K.I. Swayer Air Force Base which was located on the upper peninsula of Michigan. When he arrived another Airman said to him that they have winter sports ten months out of the year, the other two months it’s too cold. 🙂

    I don’t like incense nor scented candles and I don’t know what peat smell like. Some woman, who pass me by, must drench themselves in perfum or cologne which annoys me and my nose. They basically stink to high heaven and don’t realize how they strong they smell. You are correct that odor brings back memories faster than any of the other senses. The only sense that’s not common, is common sense. 🙂

    Today was cloudy without the rain we had yesterday. The high temperature was in the mid 50s.

    • katry Says:

      HI Bob,
      We used to skate at the town rink at Recreation Park. It was really just a football field the high school used as they had no field on school grounds, but in winter they put up a fence, a warming building then watered the grass to form the rink. It was free, and it was great fun.

      I lived in Ghana with a dry and rainy season. It was always hot. I’ll take the cold any time.

      The day was pretty nice.

  3. lilydark Says:

    Hi Kat,
    It rained earlier and when I went outside ( there was food that was delivered to me) the sun was brightly shining. I walked down to the end of the driveway hoping to see a rainbow but I had missed it, according to my neighbor. The cloud formations were wonderful,though.
    I like sage, but I haven’t used any incense for a long time. I have a bottle of lavender oil, which one of my vets said was comforting to cats.
    While I lived in N.H. I didn’t do any snow sports. As a child we built snow people, ( very odd ones). We may have had snowball fights, I don’t recall.
    I’m an awful skater, though my dad did take us to a rink. There was a pond not to far away from my house where my friends would gather and skate. I didn’t want to skate, but I have the memory of my friends gathering to support me and skating with me. Even if it isn’t true, I love the memory.
    Take Care,
    Lori and Ms. Cookie

    • katry Says:

      Hi Lori,
      No rain here today as it stayed a nice day all day but it is chilly.

      I have burned sage sticks in the fireplace inside and the chiminea outside. They do smell great when they’re burning.

      I ice skated and sledded but that’s all. No one I knew skied so I never learned how, but given my luck, I probably would have broken something. We had the swamp near us where we skated and there was a town rink in the park.

      Have a wonderful evening!!

      Love, Kat and the beasts

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