My wife and I were in the Avoca shop in Powerscourt yesterday. We noticed lavender sacks for sale. The shape and scent brought me back more than 40 years. My mother used to put these sacks in chests of drawers with clothes. The smell of lavender still reminds me of our old house, drawers, comfort, security, letting parents take care of you. When you're an adult you can take on big challenges, but a child should just enjoy growing up in blissful safety.
I'm currently reading a novel called the The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. There is a great passage in it about how the young girl Liesel relates through smell to her foster father, Hans, who is kind to her and is teaching her to read each evening in the basement of their house....
Some nights after working in the basement, Liesel would sit crouched in the bath and hear the same utterances from the kitchen.
"You stink", Mama would say to Hans. "Like cigarettes and kerosene."
Sitting in the water, she imagined the smell of it, mapped out on her papa's clothes. More than anything, it was the smell of friendship, and she could find it on herself too. Liesel loved the smell. She would sniff her arm and smile as the water cooled around her.
I've written last year about how under-rated and powerful the sense of smell can be (Smell..the sense of the past and also comments on the novel Perfume). I'm sure we can all relate certain smells to childhood or other memories. Any thoughts?