Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Did you know that your olfactory sense is the only one of your senses that goes directly to the brain. For example the information you take in from your eye goes through the optic nerve and the information you take in with your ears likewise. But what you smell goes directly to your brain. That is why in an instant, a smell can bring to the surface sharp memories long forgotten.

Tonight when I went with Andrew to Kal beach for what has become our nightly ritual in this hot weather, there was the smell of woodsmoke in the air (must be a forest fire somewhere). It was a distinct smell - not the usual, easy-to-light cedar of campgrounds but a different kind of wood. Pine, maybe? Spruce? I don't know. But the smell instantly brought back to me my childhood in Prince George. Specifically weiner roasts in Fort George Park back when you used to be able to do that. And suddenly the whole panaorama of Fort George Park opened up in my minds eye - the water park, the white tire teeter totter that Doug and I loved to bounce each other on, the old fashioned fire truck sunk into concrete, the acres of green grass where we played touch football and the chain fences. All there in my mind, in an instant, standing up to my knees in lake water at Kal beach.

The smell of lake water brings back many layers of memory. The ocean was an exotic destination, much sought after but visited only rarely. Lakes were our family's playground in the summer. Bear Lake, Ness Lake, 6 Mile Lake, Jim Smith Lake, Wasa Lake, Lakelse. We spent many sunny days at the beach. So many hot evenings Dad got home from work, we grabbed a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken or Mom had the cooler packed with all the stuff for weiner roasts and we headed to the beach. I can remember those northern summer evenings that went on forever. I love the beach. I love the little escape from all the presses of daily life - the closeness of our family as we played together. And I love how it has continued into my own family. The beach is one place we still all play together. Mud fights at Jade Bay - I laugh as the mud Kaetlyn plopped on Dean's bald head slides down. We dive and cavort and rest and just be together.

Ah the memories of smells...

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