Researchers say, smells help people to study new things. They say your mind consciously or subconsciously connect different smells to different memories.
I don't know if it's true for others, but it is definitely true for me. There are some distinct fragrances that immediately evoke some memories and feelings, or those memories and feelings evoke the sensation of fragrances.
The smell of the juicy, ripe raspberries on the sun makes me feel freedom. I think of all the childhood summers, when we used to pick them from the vines, and eat them straight away. We didn't care about the thorns, and after a bigger raid we often looked like we lost a fight to a feral cat. The way mom and granny took out that old, red stained piece of material, which was probably a curtain in its previous life, and pressed the juice out of the fruits, making syrup, which we were all over about. We were young, on summer break, free, without any concerns. We were chasing butterflies, playing pretend, and reading the same silly books over and over again, for the hundredth time.
The smell of chrysanthemums makes me think of autumn, of the day of the dead. Granny used to make lots of wreaths out of pine branches and chrysanthemums, which we brought to the cemetery, and placed on people's graves who were died well before I was born, or before I was old enough to remember. She always told me who was who, stories of their lives, little details that never mattered anymore. She was so metricular about making the wreaths. Big, fluffy, white flowers for this person, humble yellow for that, bold claret for the other. She always made a tiny one for my "friend", a little boy who died in the first decade of the 20th century, and had a huge statue on his grave, made to his likeness.
The smell of old bars makes me feel happy. There was an old, shoddy little pub on the corner of our street, not too far from my childhood home, and when the weather turned better, they started to sell ice-cream. It was a rare treat for us, since we were little kids. We were always looking forward to take the trip, knowing we'll be rewarded with some creamy goodness. In retrospect, it wasn't a good idea to let children in actual pubs, where they were exposed to cigarette smoke and the occassional drunk people, but at that time, nobody seemed to care. They were different times, and that unique mixture of smoke and stale beer forever burned into our memories.
The smell of roses makes me remember grandpa. I was born in the beginning of summer, and he always gave me early roses for my birthday. He was fond of them. He grew a small rose garden in front of our house. He always tended them with so much love, as they were his children. He planted, weeded, sprayed, watered, trimmed them, and sometimes even sang for them. He even tried creating his own hybrids. My grandpa was a simple man, never had any degrees or scientific background, but he was good with plants. Ever the gardener, he was. I've never seen roses so lush and vivid as he had in that garden. And the first flowers were always mine. Pinks, reds, whites and yellows. She treated me like a little lady, when he gave me my yearly bouquets, and I always marvelled at the beauty he created.
The smell of violets reminds me of blind faith. I had essential oils which I used when I was a teenager. My favourite was the violet one. I used it for my secret little rituals. I figured the old man in the skies won't give a shit about my life, but probably some ancient gods and goddesses will help me if I present them gifts. I took all my knowledge from mythologies, new age books, and every source I had, and came up with those. I was lonely, confused, and felt miserable for most of the time. I genuinely hoped that someone, somewhere will hear my pleas and my life will change for the best. I had faith. Something that years of Catholic school weren't able to plant in me.
The smell of old books reminds me of my first love. We were in the same class, though he was two years older. He repeated a year, just to be able to attend that school. It was his parents' choice, and he hated every moment of it. He was a skinny, nerdy boy, who always wore dark clothes, listened to metal music, wrote poetry and drew. He was an outsider by all means. A dreamer, a rebel. He wasn't cute, or handsome. I was charmed by his personality, fell under his spell. He never acknowledged me as a girl though. We were friends, really good friends, we stood by each others' side. We spent so much time together, fooling around. Sometimes I had so much hope, sometimes every moment was as painful as it's possible. And then I went away, but I still cherish his memory.
The smell of the hairdresser's make me feel loved. The tattoo ink independent. The ether afraid. The chalk frustrated. And many more.
I have a new connection though. The smell of osmanthus makes me think of you. I don't know why, we didn't even meet when they were blooming. Still when I think of you, I feel the sweet and lush smell of fragrant osmanthus, as they were blooming right next to me. When they were in season I often stopped and stood under them to inhale their scent, eyes closed, enjoying the sweetness that the last warm days brought. You were away, or rather I was away. I kept a distance, because I didn't want to hurt you. I missed you so much, all the time, when we were apart. I found bliss when we met. I was looking forward to our Sunday nights, when we embraced. That's what kept me going all through the week. I made a mistake. I let myself feel. I let myself to fall in love. And for some deluded moments, I believed you also feel the same. That it's not just carnal. I was wrong. But for me, it's real. I can't erase my feelings on command. Now all I have is the scent of osmanthus. That sweet, overpowering scent that was gone with the last warm days of autumn, giving place to the cold, gloomy winter.