Friday, 22 November 2013

I smell a story

Scent is very important. It brings back memories, and memories are usually the best stories, because they were worth remembering.

One of my favourite books, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, has a wonderful chapter about the power of scent in stories. The Night Circus tells the tale of a magical circus, that "Opens at Nightfall and Closes at Dawn". One of the main characters in the book is Bailey, a boy from Concord, Massachusetts. Living there in 1897. He falls in love with the circus and visits as often as he can, becoming good friends with some of the artists in the circus. One night he wanders through the circus on his own and encounters a single tent, with a sign that says.

"Bedtime Stories
Eventide Rhapsodies
Anthologies of Memory"

Intrueged he enters to find a tent filled with bottles, jars, small and big pots. He opens one and this is what happens.

"As he peers inside he smells the smoke of a roaring fire, and a hint of snow and roasting chestnuts. Curious, he inhales deeply. There is the aroma of mulled wine and sugared candy, peppermint and pipe smoke. The crisp pine scent of a fir tree. The wax of dripping candles. He can almost feel the snow, the excitement, and the anticipation, the sugary taste of a striped candy."

I hope, you, like me, can see what he is seeing. Christmas. Although my Christmases have been rather different, there is still so much recognisable. I do remember those first days of Christmas. My mum would go down before we even woke up and turned on the lights in the Christmas tree, leaving the rest of the house in darkness. So when we would come downstairs, I could already smell the pine scent coming from the Christmas tree, and opening the living room door... All those lights flickering in the tree, standing alone surrounded by darkness. And up to this day, the smell of pine trees brings back the memories and stories of Christmas to me.

And you? Do you have a story related with a smell? Please, do share your story.

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