What’s that I smell?

It hit us the moment we closed the front door.

It’s pungent, fresh, and unique scent tickled our noses.

Like two bloodhounds on a trail, we followed the scent until it lead us to the source.

Piles of freshly cut grass standing tall and in single file greeted Roxy and me this morning.

If ever I’ve doubted if scents can act as powerful memory triggers, today proved this to be true.

As Roxy tugged at her leash, ready to dive into one of the piles, I stood motionless.

Hundreds of images flashing before my eyes; like a slide show on maximum speed.

Daddy pushing the man-powered lawn mover, happily whistling, and wiping the sweat from his brow.

My sister and I laying on freshly mowed grass, watching clouds form animal shapes as they slowly drift by.

My friends and I camping in the backyard, sitting in a circle, patiently waiting for the 8 ball to silently answer our questions. “Does Johnny like me?” “Will my parents divorce?” “Will I get a new dog?” “Will I make the cheerleading squad?”

My sister and I raking the grass with our fingers, searching for ladybugs to place in a jar, giggling as they try to escape.

Our newly bathed dog, Wolfy, rubbing his fur in the grass, desperately trying to rid himself of the smell of shampoo.

My youngest sister and I, walking barefoot in the yard, feeling the freshly cut blades of grass tickling our feet.

My sisters and I, running under the sprinklers, wearing bright pink bathing suits emblazoned with Minnie Mouse’s face, laughing as the we dash from side to side.


Roxy tugs at the leash once more, and suddenly I’m back.

I’m standing in a pile of freshly cut grass.

I hear loud voices and realize the workmen across the street are yelling at me.

“Get off the grass!”

Back to the present.

No longer do I hear a click.

No more slides of happy memories from the past.

And yet there’s bounce in my step as I begin our walk.

My newly energized spirit leading the way.

Roxy peers out the window at the freshly cut grass.

What triggers your memories?


50 thoughts on “What’s that I smell?

  1. There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly mown grass.
    I loved sitting on the stairs just inside our front door after dad cut the grass. Every breath was a reminder that in summertime I was free to imagine away the day. Anything was possible.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    1. Shary, I also associate freshly cut grass with summer! Barbeques, marshmallow roasts, fireflies! Great times! And you’re right, anything was possible! :)

  2. You’re right. Nothing triggers the old memory like smells. And Fresh-cut grass is certainly one of the strongest! thank you for your beautiful post! I’m on my way down memory lane . . .

    1. Diane, hello and welcome! I’m delighted my post has invoked such memories in you! Isn’t it wonderful to take a trip down memory lane? Especially on a Friday! :)

    1. Jann, my mother is also a die hard fan of Chanel n.5! She has a bottle at home but for some reason insists on squirting herself with it every time we go into a perfume shop! The smell drives me insane, triggers a migraine, but she doesn’t care! She loves the stuff! I love your scent triggers! :)

  3. Smell is so, so powerful. I have a little perfume bottle that I only keep in my travel bag. So anytime I wear it, it reminds me of vacations, long-distance relationships and business travel all at once! Thanks for the great post.

    1. Caryn, I love the idea of carrying a little perfume bottle with such a purpose! My sister’s favorite scent is Bobbi Brown’s “Beach” because she says it reminds her of our childhood vacations on the coast. I’m tickled pink you like the post! :)

  4. YES, Bella,

    —the scent of freshly cut grass brings back beautiful memories.
    And Chocolate Chip Cookies & Tabu!!
    I believe scent is the most powerful “Memory Bringer Upper!!’

    I LOVE ROXY!! xxxxxx Love this post. You are Fab.

    1. Kim, after a hard week filled with housework, doctor’s appointments and other menial tasks, your comment serves not only to make me smile like a Cheshire cat, but also to uplift my spirit almost in the same way that my stroll down memory lane did. Thank you, dear lady! Chocolate chip cookies and Tabu! What a powerful duo! :)

    1. Sweet Brynne, only you would come up with a wonderful combination of words like, “delightfully scented journey!” I knew this post would be “right up your alley!” So glad you liked it, amiga! :)

    1. Kelly, freshly cut grass reminds people of different things and for some, like you, it’s all about sports. My sister tells me it reminds her of tumbling, gymnastics and flag football! :)

  5. Every Wednesday the yard man cut our grass. I sat on a branch of the weeping willow tree and watched and drank in the smell of newly mown grass. Wednesday night was always French toast for supper night, so I guess it makes sense that French toast reminds me of summer afternoons and the smell of grass.

    1. Thelma, I love your association of newly mown grass with French toast! The Son tells me it reminds him of burgers and hot dogs on the grill! I’ve yet to designate a day for a special food, but I’d like to. I think I’ll make Friday, lasagna night! :)

    1. Thank you, Paz! Doesn’t Roxy look pensive as she stares out the window into the scene below? Times like these serve to reiterate that little Roxy is indeed a “Budha” dog! :)

  6. This post made me smile. So true. Whenever I am baking and I open the bottle of Vanilla extract, it takes me back to when I was in 3rd grade, learning to bake from this cookbook for kids that I had. Seriously, EVERY time I open a bottle of vanilla, this same memory comes back of that cookbook and being in the kitchen of the house we lived in.

    1. Michael Ann, what a sweet memory! I love it! I find myself being transported back in time every time I catch a whiff of cinnamon. My nana used to give me a warm glass of milk sprinkled with cinnamon when I was a child, claiming it would help me sleep. And would you believe that whenever I find myself suffering from a bout of insomnia that’s exactly what I’ll make? :)

  7. The smell of freshly mowed grass still reminds me of my dad using the old push mower. Probably because my siblings and I used to play outside a lot, before, during and after! It sure is a unique smell isn’t it?

    1. Elizabeth, did your daddy use one of those too? For a while my father only used what he called the “man powered” lawn mower. But as he got older, he realized it was easier to use the gas-powered one. Thankfully, his choice of lawn mower never affected the scent of freshly cut grass!

    1. Julie, I think it was more for safety than for anything else. There were workers picking up tree braches and raking leaves from the flower beds and there were two men in driving those huge lawn mowers. I have to remember to look for those signs the next time I visit France!

  8. The smell of newly cut grass, is so strong I can smell it here in my room with the windows closed, as I write. Plus, I can feel myself about to sneeze. Yes, I’m allergic to most grasses. But I do love your memories. Reads like a poem. Thank you, mija, for sharing. :)

    1. bwhahaha! Trust you to bring the comedic element into this discussion! Gracias, chica! Your wit is welcome always! You know, I too suffer from a host of allergies, but would you believe grass isn’t a trigger? Incredible, huh? I’m so glad you liked it! :)

  9. The olfactory sense is so powerful. What I always find so interesting is the vividness with which I remember certain little snippets of time, just like your slideshow. Like running in the back yard one morning with my sister when I was five and she was three. We must have done that a million times, and there was nothing particularly special or novel about that instance, but forty years later that one image remains completely fresh, as if it was just this morning. Meanwhile, my recall of more pivotal events is often murky. I always find that surprising.

    1. June, life is a paradox, is it not? :) But I’m with you on childhood memories really standing out. You wouldn’t believe the things I remember! I find I have selective amnesia for a lot of the things that either didn’t make an impression, or those I simply want to pretend never happened. :)

  10. I love the way you described your past memories. Made it very visual for the reader. And I love that photo of Roxy staring out the window. For me, places and songs tend to trigger memory. So many times I’ll hear a piece of music of song and I’ll be immediately transported back to where I was when that song was always on the radio or when I heard it first. I like those moment. It’s like a bit of magic brought into the present.

    1. Leah, I’m delighted you like both the style of the post and Roxy’s photo! Thank you for your kind words. I also find that songs and music serve to trigger the most wonderful of memories. Just last night my sister and I were commenting how any song by Al Green reminds us of our father. My sister told me that still after a year and a half of daddy’s passing, she still can’t hear Al’s song, “Lets stay together.” That’s how powerful it is. But I agree–when music triggers a memory, it’s like magic! :)

  11. Ah, I can smell this post too! My boys have taken over some of the grass cutting duty from my husband now. I love when they do it after school and I can experience it upon my return from work. Here’s one of mine
    Click: the kids’ shoes and dogs’ paws are green from playing in the clippings!

  12. Bella,

    Can I tell you how I LOVED this post? My favorite image – the sprinklers and the Minnie Mouse suits – precious.

    Anything can trigger memories but sound usually invokes them, a song, a certain intonation in someone’s voice or a phrase…and I’m gone. Memory is a funny thing and we don’t often dwell on it but our best memories involve all senses. The way you felt, what you smelled, heard etc. becomes part of the neural map. Very cool.

    Thank you for sharing all those beautiful memories…


    1. Coco, I’m tickled pink you like the post! I was just writing Leah how powerful I find music and songs to be. As I type this message to you, Leah’s comment inspired me to play Al Green’s song and like my sister, I can’t control the tears. I hear Al’s smooth voice and I think of riding in the car with daddy, crooning alongside of Al and snapping his finger’s to the beat. It’s so real! But you’re right, memory does involve all the senses. And for that, I’m glad! I don’t know where I would be without my memories! :)

    1. Beverly, we can’t but wonder what lawn mowers will look like in 20 years, right? About four years ago, I saw a “man-powered” lawn mower in my sister’s shed which she had bought at a garage sale. I remember thinking, wow! It was like a blast from the past! It seems all things were better in the past, doesn’t it? :)

  13. Mmm, freshly mown grass. Scents are truly wonderful. The scent of Clinique Happy always takes me back to my high school romance days. Oh man, no fail. And the smell of old newspapers reminds me of growing up in my grandfather’s house. :)

    1. Oh, Laura! Clinique is my other sister’s favorite scent! If ever I smell it, I think of her! Isn’t it funny how we associate people, things, and events with their scent? :)

  14. For me it’s all the smell of honeysuckle along with that cut grass that sends me back in time at the first inhale. Smell is such a powerful memory recaller, or if you are open to the thought, it enable time travel. My favorite cut grass memory those of early spring, when the air is fresh.

    1. Honeysuckle! That reminds of grade school and walking to school, stopping along the way, and snapping off the delectable flower so we could suck on the nectar! That was such a long time ago and yet it seems so real! And you’re spot on, dear Brenda, spring and freshly mown grass are like an inseparable duo! :)

  15. Nicely done, Bella, I love the format – taking a picture, conjuring a memory. The smell that still stays with me is a perfume I started wearing before I was even ‘allowed’ to wear it. Windsong. Makes me think of the lipstick I kept inside my radio where the batteries were supposed to go – click – and that book that I wasn’t supposed to read – click – and that skimpy little halter-top hidden away like a forever secret beneath my gray woolen sweater – click.

    1. Kathy, I’m honored that you like the post! I remember Windsong! Windsong stays on my mind…remember that ad? I love your clicks! They make for special “bad girl” moments! hee hee! :)

  16. I liked this post very much, read it while sat in the garden taking the sunshine. It was very peaceful till the mowers started up. Still to get the smell there has to be the noise

    1. Hello and welcome! I’m delighted you like the post! Yes, unfortunately, there’s a caveat to most things. That said, I think we can withstand the mower’s noise if it means we’ll have the scent of freshly cut grass afterwards! :)

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