Every so often, things happen in life that become little triggers for memories.
The older I get, the more those little triggers fire up a memory. The trouble is, often, the memory is not in full coloured detail. More likely, it’s a fleeting “oh, yeah, I remember…. Um… how did that go again?” type of picture. Other times a little trigger can transport me back to a place, and I experience a full re-enactment of a long-ago time.
Of the five senses we possess, it appears that smell is the most dramatic.
A smell can trigger all sorts of recollections and recapture moments in vivid detail.
To give you an example.
There is a particular supermarket here in Tauranga. It’s not one that I regularly frequent as it is some distance away. But on the odd occasion that I do, as soon as I walk in, I am immediately transported to a specific supermarket in Arcata, California. I would go there with my daughter whenever I visited her. Sometimes even going on my own driving her American ‘truck’ with its column change and steering wheel on the wrong side – my adventure!
But why does this one N.Z. supermarket remind me of the one in Arcata and not other markets? It’s definitely the smell that is exactly the same the moment I step inside. I believe it could be how both of them are laid out. The N.Z. one has a café with the coffee smell to the right, the produce to the left, and that includes the bakery. The Arcata one is laid out slightly differently, but the combination of the smell of the coffee, the bakery and the produce is the same and this is the trigger.
So on the odd time when I am missing my daughter, especially during this last year when neither one of us can visit, I go over to the city and saunter into this supermarket. I close my eyes, and I’m right there with her.
And just so you know it’s not only me. Her father has the exact same reaction.
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