Years ago while walking on a goat path on the island of Amorgos, my nose abruptly told me to stop–it was the smell of honeysuckle. A smell that had been absent from my life for so long suddenly resurfaced and wrapped me in a blanket of nostalgia.
My childhood was full of honeysuckle as, in our neighbourhood, it was growing everywhere. I liked the smell so much that I even wore honeysuckle scented perfume for many years. Then I grew up and moved to a place where honeysuckle was not grown and the scents from the past were replaced with new ones.
It’s funny how smell is so tied to memory—that smell of honeysuckle had reawakened a part of my memory that had been dormant for so long. Nostalgia, a yearning for something that no longer exists. Somewhat sad, no?
My Parian neighbor, Connie, has an incredibly wild & healthy honeysuckle vine. So I took a clipping. It easily rooted and, once grown, I took a clipping of my new plant to Rome and grew it there as well.
Because of a smell familiar during childhood, a honeysuckle clipping was taken from Paros and rooted in Rome. It’s just one more example of how your childhood follows you wherever you go.
Related: The Smell of Chanel + The Smell of Elicriso +
Smell must be our most ancient sense. It can take us back far better than a sound or sight.
I wonder why….but it does indeed relate to memory.
Smell resides in the limbic system, the oldest and most primitive part of our brain that we share with anyone who has a skeleton – lizards, even dinosaurs. The fight-or flight-reflex is rooted there too.
The smells of my recently acquired garden, and the birdsong, tell me this is a good summer, the same summer as once when I was 8 years old. It is a smell that exites me and stimulates me to go out and play, 53 years on.
I read about native American tribes who do not say ‘this summer’, ‘last summer’, just ‘the summer is here again’. The same summer, just in a different year. So the same summer that keeps on returning, cyclic time, not linear.
And thank you for this post – next week I’ll have a honeysuckle too, you reminded me that I should.
Lovely! A new garden is so full of healthy hope…do you have a blog?
Thank you so very, very much for asking that! I don’t have a web presence yet, although I’ve known for some time that I should. Coping with daily life takes up so much of my time and energy – I don’t even have a honeysuckle yet. But the thought that you would check out my blog suddenly turned it from something abstract into something concrete, so today as a first step I registered my domain name. Bless you dear.
Oh, you’ve given me goosebumps! Please let me know when you start posting.
A blog gives you a voice and a chance to share ideas…and to make new friends! 😘