A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Memories Are In The Air

Downtown Morgantown, WV from atop a hill near ...
Downtown Morgantown, WV from atop a hill near North High Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Does the feel of the air ever bring back memories for you?

         Autumn especially evokes remembrance of times and places of my past.   I recall the smell of burning leaves and the feel of the crisp fall mornings.  The dry midday warmth and the chill in the air as the sun begins its descent below the horizon.  As gray days of November lead toward winter, the colder days become the norm with expectations of snowy days to come.

         Any potential bleakness is cheered by the holiday seasons.  The savory scents of Thanksgiving dinners being prepared makes mouths water and hearts fill with warm feelings brought by memories of family gatherings and the promise of gatherings yet to come.  Food smells waft in the air to touch the nerves that tap into recollections.

        The first frosty morning.  The silent snow of night that creates a magical crystal landscape that greets us when we rise.  Visible breaths in the icy air.  The atmosphere which we cannot see but feel, seizes what we see around us so that later when we experience the similar feel of the air we might remember a snapshot of some captured yesterday.

          Those are things I no longer experience where I live now, but I remember them.  When I go home for holidays I welcome the chance to experience these wintery things once more.  Memories to carry home with me so they can be plucked from my mind like I would pluck up a photo album off the coffee table.  If the memories cannot be lived then they can be perused with reflection.

         There are refreshing summer mornings when the feel of the air takes me back to a morning in Morgantown, West Virginia as I stepped out on my grandparents' porch to feel that same feeling of air.  It's a connection made across the decades locked in my mind to be let out when I feel the air in that special way.

          A brisk cool breeze rushes down my neighborhood street on a sunny Southern California morning and I am momentarily transported to a pull-off on a desolate West Texas highway where a friend and I have stopped for a break after driving all night.  As I step out of the van I am greeted with an unexpectedly chilling wind that takes my breath.  It is July and though a chill is in the morning air, I know in a couple hours it will be blazing hot.  These memories delivered in a morning breeze years later.

         There are memories in air.   Times of day.  Seasons of the year.  Unexplainable moments in time when memories are drawn from the deep well of the past.  The invisible force that we breathe, bask in, and sometimes fear in the power that it can wield.  The wind blows and we are caught up in it.

          Does a feeling in the air ever bring back special memories for you?   What does the smell of burning leaves remind you of?    Are you ever struck by a long forgotten memory because of something in the air?

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JoJo said...

The smell of ocean air of course brings me back to my youth growing up here....I always lived close to the water when I was on the west coast (SF Bay, Puget Sound, etc). But the smells of fall are my fave. Although burning leaves has never been anything I recall. We do have burning here, but only in late winter/early spring.

shelly said...

Since I grew up in Florida, smells and sights are a little different. Fall and Winter are fickle here. One day hot. One day cool.

But the sights of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decor are special to me. Especially memories of my mom's pies and cookies. She couldn't cook but she sure could bake.

Hugs and chocolate!

Susanne Drazic said...

Yes, certain smells and sounds can bring back memories. Mostly good.

D.G. Hudson said...

I know exactly what you mean, Lee. Smells in the air can transport us back in time for a few seconds. For me, it was the honeysuckle in the backyard, wafting its perfume. If I smell oil paint, I'm back in art school.

It's that deja vu feeling via our smell senses. I like that you called it 'memories in the air'. Thanks for reminding us that we must live in the moment.

Kelly Robinson said...

They say that scent is powerfully connected with memory, and I suspect that a lot of the "feeling in the air" that is connected with seasons has a lot to do with the smells, like the burning leaves you mention, or wet grass in the summer.

LD Masterson said...

My first car, shared with my older brother, was a convertible. After decades of sensible "family" cars, I'm driving a soft top again. A couple years ago, I was driving with the top down on lovely summer day, tree lined street with the branches almost touching overhead, and something triggered a memory so strong that I wasn't just remembering - for a fleeting moment I was sixteen and driving that old Rambler on a street near my high school. Then it was gone.

Arlee Bird said...

JoJo- Ocean smells are very distinctive.

Shelly -- The smell of baked goods--Mmmm!

Susanne -- Yes, good, mostly.

DG -- Honeysuckle is a good one. I remember smelling it on the campus where I went to high school.

Kelly -- Smells invoke the greatest memories I think, but I can also have memories stirred by the temperature, the humidity, or the wind.

LD-- That's what I thinking of. Those fleeting moments of passing memory. Wonderful!