The Powerful Pine Tree

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“Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Isn’t it amazing how certain smells bring back memories from childhood?

Last Saturday, Hubby and I decided to go out to breakfast. After seeing that our favorite breakfast spot was too crowded, we drove to another restaurant that is very popular. As we exited the car, I was enveloped by a scent that transported me to several decades ago.

Why? Eric had parked under a fragrant pine tree. The scent took me back to my early years when my family owned a cabin in the town of Crestline, nestled in the San Bernadino Mountains. A few seconds is all it took to remind me of the fun times at the cabin, often with friends in tow. We would climb a huge boulder that sat a few feet away from the house, toboggan down the stairs until we collided with the wall, swim in nearby Lake Gregory, eat donuts in the church basement, play hide-and-seek, and read books up in the loft. Does it matter that it has been over 30 years since those memories were made? Not one bit. They are imprinted on my heart.

A couple of years ago my brother took his wife and children up to Crestline and, amazingly, he found our cabin. Despite a few cosmetic changes, it looked as I remembered it. Still, last Saturday’s smell of the pine worked its way into my memory bank more intensely than a photo. Seven days later it lingers, as do the simple, happy memories of that special place.

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