Today I am going to talk about people’s smells. Not the most exciting of topics (and maybe considered slightly disturbing and disgusting) but these are positive smells, the smells of people close to us. It would probably be more romantic to call them ‘scents’. These scents are so unique to the individual, that if you were blindfolded and wearing ear muffs when a loved one came to greet you, you would know by their smell alone who it was.
Today I embraced my Dad as I met him at a village fete and fairground and as my nose rested next to his hair with my chin over his shoulder, I realised that he had a scent that took me back to my childhood. With a slight hint of Kourous and minty chewing gum, and the special hair shampoo he uses for his fluffy hair and dry scalp, added to the scent of his cottage (my babyhood home), an emotion stirred in me that I felt literally in my heart that I was home. I am sure it is nature’s way of linking family genetics together, just like in the same way that a lamb releases a unique scent as it suckles from it’s mother, to let her know that she is feeding her own.
The same can be said of my Mum, her house, scent, washing powder and Anais Anais. Most of us are creatures of habit and don’t tend to change the brand of our shampoo, perfume, body wash etc. Not forgetting domestic cleaning products that contribute to the overall scent of our homes. All of this fuses to make a heady cocktail of that unique person. The same feeling stirs in my heart when I smell the hair of my husband (maybe more enjoyable before he has gone to work and at weekends!) and my daughter and son. My daughter makes me laugh when she deeply inhales the smell of her baby brother’s favourite toy “I just love the smell of him” she exclaims and this is because of the emotion the smell evokes.
Can a smell/ scent be captured for eternity though? I was thinking about when my parents pass away, will I have the chance to save something that smells of them and if I do will that scent remain on that article of clothing? How long can it last? To what extent do memories perpetuate a loved one’s scent?
In motherhood, scent stakes a claim on offspring. The cavewoman in me doesn’t like it when I collect my son from nursery and find he smells of the women who have been looking after him, as nice as the perfume may be, it is not the smell of my son. This harks to the farmers who use the technique of mounting the hide from a dead lamb onto the body of an orphaned lamb so that a Mummy sheep will adopt the lamb and allow it to suckle. I think this also links to the meaning behind the common utterance ‘something doesn’t smell right with this’. It is amazing how important scent is in our lives and the value placed on it by Mother Nature herself.
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Thanks for reading.