Making Scents of it All

Making Scents of it All

Photo by Holly Landkammer on Unsplash

It’s January 1, 2024 and I’m taking stock of the last few days of 2023 along with picturing my home without all it’s seasonal ornaments, lights and holiday decorations . I may just put off placing them all back in storage containers for another day.

Being part of the rapidly maturing demographic, we don’t receive or expect many physical presents during the holidays. It’s been a longstanding belief that presents are more for children than adults. That is unless they’re your children then it really doesn’t matter how old they get, which of course throws out any sort of logic from your previous belief out the window. I realize one’s beliefs can simultaneously contradict themselves without seeming the least bit ludicrous.

Receiving any gift does make me appreciate the warmth and thought behind it though. A wonderful coffee mug from my bestie in California, a new workout outfit from my mother ( see embedded belief system above), and a very cool selection of perfumes from my daughter all added delight and joy to my heart.

The perfumes featured scents that were historically researched to represent a particular decade in time. Imagine, a fragrance that reflects the essence, attitude and taste of the times! What could be more evocative for someone who wonders for a living?

My daughter and I both contemplated about what the 1920’s must have smelled like and how do you then infuse that into a dainty, little perfume bottle. We both imagined it to be a combination of the sweat from a Flapper girl after an all-night dance-a-thon and the exhaust fumes of a 1924 Model T.

Of course, it didn’t resemble either, but it was good fun making each other laugh and giggle over the phone at the thought. Talk about instant fodder for time travel and day dreaming!

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Have you ever heard of the Proustian Moment? If you haven’t, you’re in good company. But if you’ve read anything from the famed French novelist Marcel Proust, you would completely understand. A Proustian moment is a sensory experience that triggers a rush of memories often long past or even seemingly forgotten. Which I’m convinced is a romantic way of saying “ the nose knows”.

According to Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, odors take a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus. The region related to emotion and memory. It’s a truly fascinating science.

The truest case of an olfactory fantasy I’ve experienced took place every time I entered into the old, locally famous Dewars Candy Shop located in Bakersfield, California. Upon entering, your body becomes weightless, your senses are taken over instantly succumbing and surrendering to the heavenly wafts of sweet delights in the air. The smell is still ingrained in my memory. 

Wait. What? Where am I?

Oh yes, we were talking about the science of scent.

This wonderful biological superpower of smell should be celebrated everyday in my humble opinion. As we speak, I’m smelling the aroma coming from my French vanilla, coffee filled mug and thinking of vanilla colored sweaters and soft, fluffy clouds. This too is no mistake. People routinely smell in color. For example, what color do you picture when you smell rain? How about your old high school gymnasium? What about the old record store you spent countless hours shopping at?

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

Just like a beautiful work of art that takes over your senses and transports you to another dimension, a wonderful fragrance creates its own memory, place and time.

Yes indeed, the human body is an exceptional euphany of orchestral sensations. Between our abilities of smell, touch, taste, hearing and seeing, we share a wealth of human riches that can instantly be drawn upon for inspiration and mindfulness. Increasing our inherent sensory muscles can in turn increase our ability to enjoy the here and now, as well as enhance our precious memories.

Once you’ve sniffed a few great sniffs, by all means please share your favorites with me by leaving a comment or an e-mail. With enough smells in our personal databases, perhaps we too can make “scents of it all” (cue eye-roll).

Now’s the time to wish you a healthy and happy New Year 2024! May it be full of sensational moments of wonder, love, peace and beauty.

Cheers and Nothing but the Best,

Julie (Juju) Hickman

P.S. If you’re so inclined, you can listen to today’s song choice. New Sensation by INXS



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