Memories have a life of their own. With a sound or smell, I can find myself transported to a different generation, time, and place. In the most extreme, I can remember my fifth birthday on the back porch in Sacramento. Other triggers have brought me back to my first visit to the swimming pool at the club in Poona, the first visit to a Sambo's restaurant (great pancakes and a mint chocolate afterwards), frozen orange drinks at the state fair, and a host of other fun moments in my past. Over the decades, different memories become blended with each other, often because they share a common trigger sound, smell, taste, or texture.
This past week a new trigger has blended with an old one in a wonderful harmony that I did not anticipate. Until this week, there was a singular link between the smell of a smoked sauna, relaxation, and the inability to be angry, frustrated, or isolated. I know when the association began on a Saturday night in October over a decade ago on the southwestern coast of Finland. I also know that it has been reinforced by shared experiences with those I hold close to my heart. There is something wonderful about this smell; it triggers warmth, love, and community.
After this week, I find myself longing to experience the smell of white birch tar, burning sagebrush, and everything that goes with it! In the moment that Whitney first embraced me, I realized I was enveloped by the smell of campfires and the wilderness. It was a familiar smell that was forever improved by the love, affection, and closeness that I felt in that moment. Everything that I had experienced in a Finnish sauna and Japanese onsen had moved to a new level! Nothing had been left behind. Everything was now richer, more complete, and holistic than I ever imagined possible; it was God's touch.
“The man threw his arms around Peter and John, ecstatic. All the people ran up to where they were at Solomon's Porch to see it for themselves.” (Acts 3.11)
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