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The Memories of Scents

Hot. So. Darn. Hot.

I’ve never been a fan of the dog days of summer, so I am very grateful that Nick installed our air conditioners before I seriously began to melt. But there’s one thing that’s really driving me crazy: I’m having a serious banana and coconut craving!

Ever since the temperature crept up to 90 degrees last month, I’ve been on the lookout for that lovely banana/coconut aroma that seems to only be found on suntanning bodies at beaches farther away than ours.

Feelings. It's not just the title of a song, but the gift of songs. Songs remind us of another time, another place. We hear a song and instantly remember where we were, who we were with and whether it was a good or unpleasant experience.

The same thing happens with scents. For example, whenever I smell Sweet Orange essential oil, I feel immediately uplifted because it evokes happy memories of the childhood summers I spent riding my bicycle and slurping orange-flavored popsicles.

On the flipside, Patchouli's odor is strong and offensive and reminds me of unwashed, drugged-out hippies. The strange thing is I've never met a real-life hippie!

Writers depend upon their senses when evoking the right location, scene or character. But one that is rarely discussed is their sense of smell.

Here are a few more impressions:

Cedarwood - Love it! Love it! Cedarwood makes me feel grounded, nurtured and clean. Conjures images of newly built wooden homes and cedar closets.

Cinnamon - This is a scent I know well, as Cinnamon is my favorite cooking spice. Cinnamon is like a loving mother, offering an abundance of warmth, love and security.

Frankincense - To me, this fragrance represents heaven on earth. I envision myself walking down a path through a damp, green forest. But I also see myself levitating way above the pews inside a beautiful high-ceiling cathedral with stained glass windows. Whenever I've visited Renaissance fairs, Frankincense fills the air and it both excites and comforts me. This is a very spiritual oil which enables me to feel one with the Source.

Myrrh - My mind immediately thinks of musty, old fur coats in attics and thrift shops. Myrrh is not an unpleasant odor; it just reminds me of things that are no longer needed.

Roman Chamomile - This scent permeated the Swiss mountain chalet I stayed in many years ago. Whenever I smell Roman Chamomile, I instantly think of Switzerland and sweet-smelling hay, not the apple-like scent many people perceive. Generally, I find Roman Chamomile to be very dominant, a combination of dried earth and flowers.

Rosemary - When I was a little girl with a bad cold, my mother would rub my chest with Vick's Vapor Rub. It had that strong, camphorous odor and so does Rosemary. So, unfortunately, I think of sickness whenever I smell Rosemary. (Incidentally, my mother's name is Rosemary. Sorry, Mom!)

Like songs, Aromatherapy can reveal a myriad of feelings, whether it's anger, elation or grief. Used alone or combined with the energies of color and crystals, inhaling an essential oil or blend can help you find your soul's deep connection to the Universe, heal your heart and redeem your spirit.

Writing Exercise

Write a scent "memoir," similar to the one I have written in this post.

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