As If I Could Forget Those Years

by thanklemons

Our sense of smell is most closely linked with memory. I think about this as I put pumpkin bread in the oven and walk away, the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg following me from the kitchen. I think about this as I wait, as I light candles and consider the air freshener on my window. I wonder what associations I’m creating for myself, which smells, years later, will bring me back to a certain moment, and how, and why. I think about Proust and childhood and the things that I remember, and I wonder about all the things I don’t– the memories that got buried somewhere, that might wake again with the perfect storm of smells or sounds. I have an odd feeling that I’m made up of all the people I’ve been through the course of the last 25 years, each self preserved in some memory or other, each resurfacing at the slightest sensory reminder.And I think of the spaces between selves, the not-quites and the almosts that I can’t label but I can feel. It’s in transitory moments that things seem to become clearer, more memorable– just like we can smell the seasons change, I think about those moments I remember, incandescently, because they marked a turning point. New seasons, new selves, are precious with the peace and stability of knowing that nothing is peaceful and stable because everything is changing, always.

This bread makes me feel fall, and the season rattles around in me, my body filled with anticipation for cold and the golden glow of leaves changing, as the smell of spices drifts through my lungs. The cinnamon scents that follow out of the oven are soothing, reminiscent of autumns past, marked changes on a seemingly-steady path. Past selves stir, waking after a long nap, and the seasons they lived press against me.  I smell pumpkin, and I think of fall, of things fallen, of particular times and changes and the movement of the world. Things forgotten and things remembered–and always the things in between.

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