Friday, January 6, 2012


They say the nose is the sense most closely linked to memory. Today as I was walking into town I passed a spot where three smells intersected in my presence for the first time in decades. I had smelled these three smells in concert before, but only once, and that as a small boy. For the first time since I was a child I experienced pipe tobacco smoke, newly cut pine, and twin-cycle fuel harmonizing in my nostrils. I was instantly transported to a warm August day in the 80's. My Grandpa McCuen was taking a break from cutting down some pine trees with his chain saw. After refueling his chainsaw he smoked his pipe and stood for a moment sizing things up before getting back to work. It was a quiet interlude.

I was arrested by the vivid memory, but once my mind caught up and I began analyzing the experience I instantly began to enjoy it less and the memory grew less sharp. I'm a cerebral man, but I will concede that thinking too much about things can completely ruin moments that are simply meant to be experienced. I tried to hold onto it, but like grabbing water the harder I squeezed the more quickly it ran out. The memory grew fuzzier and fuzzier before fading entirely. Then I was left with the smells but none of the poignancy and emotion. I tried to conjure them again, but they would not make an encore appearance. Then I questioned if the whole thing had been just a product of my imagination to begin with

I don't think so though. For just a moment, a vivid poignant moment, I was transported. I tell you I traveled through time today.

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