Smells Are The Most Powerful Stimuli

As I walked through the front courtyard of the complex where I live today, I was acutely aware of a delicious fragrance wafting through the air. I followed my nose to the Confederate Jasmine creeping over the wrought iron fence that surrounds the site. The sweet, fruity scent of the Jasmine immediately brought back memories of living in Puerto Rico, where the air was always infused with the scent of the luscious tropical flowers that bloomed year-round.

Smells are powerful stimuli. The odor of freshly baked cookies lingering in a house that is for sale can often be the deciding factor for buyers deciding between properties. The scent of fresh mowed grass reminds me of summer nights on the south side of Chicago, when as a child, I ran around at dusk, catching fireflies and putting them in a jar with air holes poked in the top. The smell of gasoline still reminds me of not being able to ride in a car when I was a kid without getting motion sickness. The fragrance of Lilies of the Valley instantly conjure up a mental image of the flowers that grew in the shade of our garage every summer in Chicago. Just a whiff of milk still makes me want to throw up – I never could stand the smell or taste of milk.

We’re connected to this world through our senses and I wonder, if I had to give up one of them, which would it be? I would prefer not to be blind as there is so much beauty to see. Losing my hearing would be difficult as well; the thought of never again enjoying music is too painful to contemplate. Is it possible to lose one’s sense of touch? I have heard of people who feel no pain; they cannot feel hot or cold, do not know when they are being burned. No, this would not be my choice. I would have to pick either my sense of smell or taste, and I suspect these two senses are so inextricably linked that losing one would surely result in losing the other. I guess if I was forced to choose, it would be my sense of taste. But oh, to never again taste a thick slice of fresh baked bread slathered with melting butter or a decadent slice of Death by Chocolate cake! Except for the fact that I would probably get skinny without my sense of taste, it is almost too awful to contemplate.

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