Sunday, 3 October 2010

The nose knows

Have you ever considered how potent our sense of smell really is? Our sense of smell is linked quite strongly to memory. More than 90% of our sense of taste is actually a result of smell. An odour can immediately change your mood and determine your reaction to a setting.

Caleb's sense of smell is acutely developed. At first I noticed it in relation to food. Since food in all its forms is a favourite hobby, I figured it was just a way that he was expressing this interest. As soon as aromas start to waft from the kitchen, I can generally bet that Caleb will wander in at a slow gait, taking slow deep breaths through his nose, trying to determine what is cooking based on the combination of smells. "What's that I smell?" he always asks. Unsure of the exact smell he is pinpointing, I take a stab at it. "Is it the onions?" "Nooo, not onions." Sniff, sniff. "Not onions." "Maybe the tomatoes in the sauce?" Sniff, sniff." "Hmm, no, something else." Sniff, sniff." "Is it the garlic on the bread?" Sniff. "Yes! That's it!"

Recently Caleb's nose has branched out beyond the kitchen. The other day we were walking home from dropping Colin off at the school bus. It was a beautiful early fall day, crisp air, clear blue sky, with that smell of autumn that promises the oncoming of winter. I had never thought to pinpoint the origin of that smell, other than to attribute it to the cold air and turning leaves.

Sure enough, halfway home Caleb slowed to that deliberate pace he has when his sense of smell takes over. Sniff, sniff, as he turned his head slightly up into the air, then to the left, then a small cock of the head to the right.

"I smell the wind."

There was no deliberation back and forth, no questions of what was inducing such a delectable aroma. For Caleb, it was simply the smell of the wind.

1 comment:

heather80 said...

The sense of smell is a wonderful thing. My sense of smell saved my family.

When we first moved into this house, when I was 11, I smelled gas. No one else did. Thankfully, my parents believed me and called the gas company. There was a leak, and a few more hours, and we'd have been in trouble.

Never underestimate smell!