62 – Smell

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

As I walk, air along the gulf coast has a certain freshness that vitalizes the soul. The salt and a bit of fish or other marine life seem to permeate the sense of smell.

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

I think about how smell and taste influence each other. The sommelier smells the wine first, then tastes – and smell influences taste – then the sommelier may smell again, followed by another sip to taste, and then even repeating this cycle of experiencing enhancement.

I think about the times when the aromas of a food feast greet me when walking into the house from the outside. I think about smells that we recognize, smells that trigger memories, and smells that make our mouths water in anticipation.

I think of the smells many of us recognize – burning leaves of autumn – grilling steaks – newly cut grass – freshness of a flower.

I think about a chemistry teacher teaching students to wave one hand over a beaker or test tube toward our nose to catch a scent – especially wonderful esters that are part of the flavor industry.

I think of products with distinct smells – whether roses, leather goods, pungent ammonia, or many more in nature and as manufactured products.

I think about how smell and taste are two senses working in tandem to enhance the other. We have many more specialized sensors detecting smell than taste – yet the wine sommelier uses both to develop descriptors for that wonderful fruit of the vine.

Photo by Viktoria B. on Pexels.com

I think about pheromones – the chemicals that living things release outside the body for attracting a mate, defense, marking territory, alarm, and more. Although we humans also have natural pheromones, sometimes we chose to add a scent of our choice.

I think about the quivering noses of dogs and cats as they examine the rich, scent-ladened world with their smell detection system that is much more sensitive than humans.

I think about how smell is like music – simply evocative tones of our surroundings. I think about the smell of a lover’s skin, the warm aroma of baking bread, the freshness after a spring rain, the roasted scent of brewing coffee that enhances the start of the day, and much more.

However, human taste is so simple that it works in tandem with our sense of smell to expand our experience.

I think about how smells are personal. Not only can a smell trigger memories, each of us can smell something different from the same object as each of our brains interpret those smells differently. Each of us may associate a smell with a different event in our past – some pleasant, others not so.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Yet, we have something in common. Our smell sensors are in the same location. After detection, the sensory impulses travel to the same part of the brain, which interprets that smell for our analysis yet, we may perceive the smell differently in our individualized analysis. However, discovering that each side of our nose detects different smells surprised me.

I think about those who cannot smell. What a world they are missing. Yes, they are fortunate to miss the bad and unpleasant – but smell’s absence is a misfortune when encountering a rose, the essence of spice, the sensuality of freshly-cleaned skin, and more. On the other hand, how does one describe smells to someone who can’t smell?

Whether temporary or permanent, I think about those who unexpectedly lost their sense of smell due to COVID.

We can walk in the same air, but the smell is personal. Each of us may detect something different or interpret the same smell differently.

I enjoy smelling the sea air when I walk because they also carry the fresh scents of freedom, happiness, and relaxation. Yes, the smell of the beach’s air is a specialized and potent personal elixir. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

See what other bloggers have written about smell

Next Post: Taste – Thursday 8 April @ 1 AM (Eastern US)

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114 thoughts on “62 – Smell”

      1. Thank you Frank,! I really enjoy, cheers for your answer and your kindness. Relaxing and thinking excellent combination.
        I live in Mexico City. Do you know my county?
        It was nice, talking to you. Keep smiling.
        Take care
        Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for sharing. I have only been to a few places in your country by cruise ship – Cabos and Acapulco – and I know that tourist cities generally don’t represent the country. My wife has also been to Monterrey for work several times. Her parents stayed in Mexico City 3-4 times (each time for 6 months) when they were working. Maybe someday I will see more.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Sense of smell is so powerful. After Austin died, there was a pile of his clothes on the floor that took me forever to wash
    Unbeknownst to me, Mick would go in, gather it up and breathe deeply. He was soad at me when I finally forced myself to wash them. Had I known…
    Love this song.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Summer Breeze is so evocative, Frank 🙂 🙂 My best smell yesterday was watering my neighbour’s front garden and the aroma from her herbs and lavender in great wafts. Have a good weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The sense of smell definitely triggers memories. I didn’t know that about each side of the nose picks up different smells. For the past year, I checked constantly that I could still smell things. My daughter-in-law told us that someone she knew had to go to therapy post-Covid to relearn how to taste and smell–she’s in the food industry.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have some very strong memories attached to scent. I was once using tea tree oil to clear my sinuses and I had such a strong memory of being a child on the East Coast in the early spring and the snow is still on the ground and you can just start to smell the pine needles crushed underfoot. That memory has stayed with me for over 50 years. It was lovely to be able to go back and relive it. Yes, I enjoy the scents that help me wander of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. John,
      The fact that COVID affects taste and smell is one thing, but what gets me is the sometimes factor. Even then, that may stick around for some time after the person is better. Nasty stuff. On the positive side, I imagine the beach smell is etched in your mind so well, you can close your eyes and smell it as if you were there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw the mention of the smell of bread baking, one of the best smells ever. Many years ago, when we bought our first bread machine, I would wake up in the morning to the smell of baking bread. What a wonderful smell! Then one morning, I woke up and didn’t smell anything. I rushed downstairs, thinking I’d forgotten to turn the machine on, but alas, I guess I just gotten used to the smell and couldn’t notice it anymore. What a sad day that was!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I have a keen sense of smell. The nose always knows. Both the good—rain on pavement—and the bad—a dead mouse hidden somewhere in the house. However, what a loss it would not to have it. And, of course, I also have a keen sense of taste. I guess the two go together. Lovely evocative song. I remember Seals and Croft doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laurie,
      Ohhhh …. you are one of those with a keen sense of smell and taste. Do you think it’s natural for you or is it something that you developed over time? Maybe you are a supertaster! 🙂 … I also recall Seals and Croft doing this song. Until I found this one, I had no idea that they did it as a remake.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting that I’d not thought about it before but some of my best memories involve scents……the one that comes to mind over all others is my Mother’s favorite perfume. After she died in 2000 I kept her bottle of Estee Lauder – once in a while I open it to take a sniff – she’s THERE. I say goodbye and put it away again. I can even smell it if I just THINK about it. I love the scent of roses and gardenias, rain, newly mown grass, a pot roast cooked in wine……without a sense of smell I think I could still SMELL everything because the memory is there – interesting. Great post too – made me think of some things I hadn’t thought of in a long time!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pam,
      Thanks for sharing the personal story about your mother. Love this line – Yep, she’s still there. 🙂 Pot roast cooking is a good one. There is something about walking into a house from the outside and colliding with the glorious scents of the kitchen. 🙂 … Great list of favorite scents!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful post, Frank! Smell is probably the most underappreciated sense, until you lose it, which I did for several days with covid19. My favorite tea, Earl Grey, was tasteless!

    As I read this post, I remembered the smells of the beach: the fresh breeze, seaweed that had washed ashore, and the smell and taste of fresh seafood. Hope all is well with you! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The loss of smell lasted only a few days for me, but other people have had that problem to last for weeks. We are having some other long-lasting effects a year later, though. We both have fibromyalgia, and those symptoms seem to have worsened since we had Covid19.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. First… adore the song Summer Breeze.
    Then I love the scent of a summer breeze. (most of them anyway. Living in the city holds certain olfactory surprises).
    Yes, smell is an ardent friend.
    Odours trigger my memory all the time. Many times my nose has lead me down memory lane… good and bad.
    I’ve been told I have an acute sense of smell. Perhaps those who tell me that have a weak sense of smell.
    In any case, I would not like to be anosmic!
    Have a great rest of the weekend, Frank! 🍷

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Love that song! it really brings back memories.
    And speaking of memories, most of my childhood memories are scent-related. And even today, my sense of smell is probably the most sensitive. I really feel for those who have lost this sense due to Covid.

    “We can walk in the same air, but the smell is personal. Each of us may detect something different or interpret the same smell differently” is what I will think on today: shared experience doesn’t necessarily mean shared meaning.


  11. One of the greatest aspects of the ocean I miss, Frank, are the smells. Just imagining those smells right now make me long for the ocean. Right now my nose is bewitched smelling so many wondrous smells of spring. The sweetness of the Daffodils, the loam of the earth, the freshness to the breezes, the smells of the rain. I’m heading into Lilac season, one of my favorite flowers and just thinking about that intoxicating smell gets my heart beating faster. Thank you so much for another great post and a video of the ocean sounds. OH how I miss it!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sometimes when I think back, a certain memory can get me to ‘smell’ the scene as it unfolds. As when we would go to mi abuelo’s apartment for dinner. The echo in the stairway was epic and the classic Cuban staples wafted through the air.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The sense of smell is so important, of course. While my daughter was undergoing many weeks of chemo she lost her sense of smell which then affected taste, and there you go. It came back, fortunately. Today I was at my mother’s house admiring her huge rose garden, taking in the fabulous scent. And times at the beach, I always take in the very distinctive smells that are distinctive to the place. This weekend a very young family member was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Her mother “smelled” the ketones and did a quick diagnosis before taking her to the hospital. We are remarkably constructed! I am grateful that i have my sense of smell, although it isn’t quite as sharp as it was when I was younger. Fortunately, I think I smell pleasant things just fine, and maybe a lessening of the ability to detect a foul smell isn’t as much a liability? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Debra,
      You have added such good information about smell, I wish this was the first comment so others would read it. 🙂 Chemo affects the body in so many ways, so cheers to taste and smell returning for your daughter. But this is the first time I’ve heard of a person smelling ketones as a signal. The nose knows! Meanwhile, so your mother has a huge rose garden. Why am I not surprised? 😉 Thanks for sharing!!!!


    1. Gail, like Frank, I love your comment. With your permission I want to use it in my post Writer’s Quotes Wednesday tomorrow on smell. I will include a link to your blog. I’ll send you a link on your most recent blog post.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. My scense of smell is most acute. I’ve been called dog nose. I can smell odors of any kind. LOL
    A psychic once told me, I was blind in another life which caused my sense of smell to step up. LOL
    Who knows …??? !!! Anywho … another good one, aFrank.
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Many childhood memories are connected to scent. And one of the most loved ones is the smell of bread baking, as you wrote about. Another is the smell of wet soil after a summer rain. Lovely post again, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Frank, Long time no see. I’m linkinf this post to my WQW post for tomorrow on smell. I love it when you’ve already written about my topic so I can go to it for inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha,
      Thank you for looking into the Topics list. Feel free to do so anytime. You aren’t the only one that I’ve been missing. I’ve been a bit taxed for time for several months. Now with summer and back to part-time work … oh boy … but I hope I can return to some sort of normalcy soon. I miss many posts because of timing … so thanks for staying with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love your posts, Frank, and like I said, they help me so much to brainstorm and find quotes for mine. Good luck with your part time work. What are you doing?


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