Some days I find my sense of smell is heightened, and it fascinates me when this layer of information appears on top of my other senses. There are times when plants, animals, exhaust, trash cans, anything with its own smell stands out in higher relief.

Smell is so intimately connected to memory that my experiences can be quite vivid and evocative. The significance can be more due to the memories evoked than any current information the smell conveys in a literal way. Most of the time this awareness is only at the subconscious level and I wonder how much this quietly informs my intuitions about people and situations.

These are impressions from one day several months ago, and I beg forgiveness if you were my unwitting subject in a moment of heightened awareness!


Your breath slightly sour and slightly sweet, like a baby’s breath, and not something I consciously remember ever noticing before, but instantly a camping trip together comes to mind, when we all surely smelled each other more than we normally do(!). The peaceful feeling of our well-ordered camp surrounds me.

And you, turning to whisper something in my ear, your breath
streams hotly around my head like a dragon’s blast of what? It’s almost the smell of an alcoholic, but that’s not quite the association, look down, there’s a bottle of kombucha in your hand. Kombucha. Of course.

In your office, the door had been shut for a week while you were unexpectedly away, but now you are back and though you are not here at the moment the scent in the room is of roses and hand creams. A smell that reminds me of my grandmother’s perfume and bath powder but with a more immediate, flowery punch. The office is inhabited again, and my grandmother’s spirit wafts through my memories. Good.