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Monday, November 16, 2020

Teacher Tom: Time Travel

Teacher Tom: Time Travel
Time Travel

I don't catch a whiff of cigar smoke very often these days, but I recently passed a couple of men enjoying stogies over glasses of wine and the scent carried me instantly back to my youth, playing baseball under the lights at Legion Field in Corvallis, Oregon. There was always a fan or two smoking a cigar in the stands and in an instant, my mind was transported over four decades back in time, taken there by the memories attached to that particular hot, sweet smoke.

Odor is a well-known trigger for time travel. Just the right whiff of rosemary or gasoline or a freshly mown lawn can send our minds into the the past and for a moment, however brief, we are someplace else. I've found that this happens more and more as I've aged. I imagine that this is likely because the more I've lived, the more past I've created.

One of my loved ones lost her sense of smell in her early 60's. Not long after that, she began to lose some of her memories, the beginning of the cruel process of dementia. I have no way of knowing if the two things are connected, but it seems possible given how powerfully, and uncontrollably, odor yanks us into our memories. Or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe scent is how we pull the past into the present.

Olfactory cues are vital to the formation of the bond between mothers and their newborns and are probably at least as CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: Time Travel