I have always maintained that scent is the sense most tied with memory. Turns out, I’m actually right.*
Nothing, for me, is as evocative as a certain smell, to bring me back to a time in my life. And last night, as we celebrated Valentine’s Day, we lit some candles on our mantle and I was immediately brought back to my first and only Christmas, a memory I will always treasure. The candles we lit last night were Yankee Mistletoe and Balsam Cedar, and the smell that floated through my living room was impossible to ignore, as it led me down the most warm lane of memories.
That christmas, as I celebrated with the most lovely family of my former beau in New York’s Mid Hudson River Valley, Mistletoe candles burned brightly, mixed with the smell of the world’s greatest christmas cookies (his mother is the world’s greatest baker of christmas cookies EVER and I will stand behind that and put her up to any challenge) and we celebrated the holiday, a holiday that is not my own, in such a cozy and beautiful way that it was impossible to not feel that coziness last night.
And it brought me back. We woke up on Christmas morning, after a big family Christmas Eve Italian dinner and mass, to the smells of Strata and French Toast and we snuggled up on couches and opened warm sweater presents and played board games, surrounded by carved carolers and beautiful decorations, and the scents were amazing. And so is the family; warmth and beauty and art and words and love. I love them dearly and I always will.
And while last night this was a different holiday entirely and one with a different vibe, I felt something, that same thing that I felt then: peace and love.
*This is surprising as science isn’t really my thang. In fact, last weekend when we went to the Franklin Institute, my state went from a spectrum from confusion to boredom. And it’s designed for kids.