There is nothing like a long beach walk to start your day, nor the solitude that comes with it. A great place to think!
As I strolled the wide sandy beach this past weeked I got thinking about all the places I’ve lived over the course of my life and how diverse they each are.
My sense of smell is acute and therefore I associate each place by a smell.
I know you’re likely thinking that I’ve completely lost the plot…
Let’s start at the beginning shall we.
My childhood memories revolve around a number of distinct smells. Firstly, the smell of wood (kitchen stove and living room heater) and cigarette smoke.
Our only source of heat and hot water came from a wood burning stove and heater in the living room, hence the ever present smell of wood smoke.
We lived in a weatherboard house and so irrespective of the season we had to have the fire alight for hot water…
Summers can be extreme and Clunes was no exception with days often getting into the high 30’s and low 40’s. Talk about hot!
Our house had a tin roof so effectively became an oven and that was before the stove being on. Yeah, you could bake scones on the kitchen table! 🙂
The other constant inside the house was the ever present smell of cigarettes smoke as mum constantly had a cigarette on the go.
Thankfully my reprieve was the garden and fruit trees outside so I could escape the ever present smell of smoke.
Our fruit trees (nectarines, plum, peach and apple) were often heavily laden with fruit, and always too much for us to eat as it ripened all at once. 🙂
Dad couldn’t give it away the fruit fast enough and so there was always an abundance of leftovers littering the ground underneath the fruit trees.
Wherever I smell a wood smoke or fresh fruit it takes back to my childhood to this day.
The next significant place I lived was Darwin in Australia’s tropical far north. This climate comes with a very high humidity thus bringing its own distinct smells.
In the wet season I felt like I was always wet from the constant stream of sweat emanating from skin.
My clothes were constantly damp from the sweat, and found myself showering and changing a couple of times a day.
In this humid setting your clothes take on a rather unsavory smell no matter how many times I washed them….
The worst was when you were playing sport.
Our uniforms were impregnated with the smell of sweat and mould. Of course as soon as they became damp became unbearably smelly all over again!
Certainly an interesting olfactory moment – right???
Next came Canada.
Strangely in eastern Canada where I spent the majority of my time there was no smell at all. Yep, zero scent…
Perhaps it’s the cold that keeps the smell neutral or non existent?
However, there was one place that had a distinctive smell and that was the subway system in Toronto. I became very familiar with it over the years as I would take it most days.
Pungent is not the word to describe it, let’s call it distinctive shall we. 🙂
I also lived and worked in Western Canada. My sense of smell was teased everyday with the pungent and delicious smells of cedar and redwood forests.
Simply divine! 🙂
I particularly loved being in Vancouver because the smell of the sea intermingled with the smell of redwood forests. Closing my eyes I can take myself mentally back to those days.
And so after 32 years of living in Canada I’m back in Australia.
My new home here in Newport is relatively close to the ocean so there is always a sea breeze, which also carries with it the slight hint of the nearby sea.
Of course the most notable smells I have encountered recently have been during my hikes into the rainforests and hinterland.
The smells of the rainforest are amplified by the heat and humidity trapped close to the ground and therefore has a distinctive smell.
I love the rich and earthy tones.
Intoxicating but in a good way!
Other adventures have taken me beyond the rainforests into the hinterland where the pungent and heady scent of eucalyptus is prevalent.
Eucalyptus is one of my favourites! 🙂
I guess we all have a different sense that is stronger than the others, mine just so happens to be smell.
So have you ever considered what your sense is that connects you to your memories?
All I can say is breathe deeply my friends and enjoy the memories. 🙂
Until next week!