Monday, November 24, 2008

Brain Smell

The brain is an amazing hunk of matter, isn't it? It has the incredible ability to encounter something and then to store it away for days or weeks or even sometimes for countless years. Subconsciously, and at times unexpectedly, it can be triggered to pull out these memories and then flood the body with an exquisite and palpable recreation of a past experience. I am reminded of a specific instance of this in my life. A long time ago, I was courting (now that's an old-fashioned word!) this wonderful girl. In the evening, she would take a shower. During this time, I would anxiously wait downstairs for her to finish. The anticipation of seeing her again, holding her hand, and talking with her into the night was electric. One of the things I remember clearly is the smell of her shampoo when she first opened the bathroom door. It was the smell of clean, of renewal, of anticipation. Every now and again, I will encounter this same smell as I am walking along and I am transported back to this place, this situation, and this time from so long ago. I feel like I am lifted out of my dreary present world, even if only for a moment. Of course I have to come back, albeit resistantly, but I always return with a memory that connects me again to myself and to the past. Indeed, an amazing hunk of matter.