March 8, 2004
The Sweet Smells of Spring
Last night, I was reading “Perdido Street Station” on the couch as a warm-ish breeze rolled in through the open door, carrying the smell of smoke in from somewhere — maybe clear across the Big Bayou.
This morning, the Key was snapping with the cool smells of burned-off fog and fresh-cut grass as I wound my way to work.
Both times, I thought: Yes, I would like this to last forever, please.
What is it about smells?
Actually, that’s a rhetorical question, because I know exactly what it is about smells: Olfaction is our most ancient sense, and it is wired deeper into our brains than any of the others. Waaay back in the day I did a whole project about this.
The point is, it’s not just dreaminess that lends special import to familiar smells (although dreaminess cannot, of course, be discounted): They affect us on a deeper level, and may in fact be more directly associated with memory, than any other kind of sensory input.