There’s memories in the air

I love it when every now and then I smell something that suddenly propels me back to another place and time. For a lot of people this might happen when they smell the distinctive smell of crayons or Play-Doh - something that they may not have smelled since their childhood. For me, I get instant waves of nostalgia when I smell smoke from a bonfire or chimney.

When I smell this kind of smoke I’m instantly reminded of my childhood when I would happily play outside. Back then open fires were more popular than they are today and autumn and winter nights would be cool and crisp and scented by the smoke emanating from homes that had real, open, fireplaces. Occasionally there would be a bonfire or field fire and without sounding like some kind of strange smoke connoisseur I can differentiate between the smell of a coal fire and a wood fire and each provides their own memories for me. It might be a memory of spending time with a friend, a particular adventure in the woods or, most excitingly, a completely random memory which I had forgotten about until the smell of the smoke unlocked it for me.

As a side note, I find these kind of memories totally fascinating - something I had long forgotten but them seemingly remember out of the blue. How many of these memories do I have, if in fact you can call them memories? 🤔

Oddly, if I ever come across the acrid smell of burning rubbish, which is fortunately not very often, I am instantly transported back in time to a university field trip where I had to map rocks in Spain which included an area around a burning landfill site. Whilst I don’t have particularly great memories of the smell itself, or that part of my trip, it does remind me of a moment in time which I enjoy reminiscing about. It’s odd how a seemingly revolting smell can conjure up fond memories!