The smell of smoke


Smell is the most powerful sense when it comes to evoking memories. (Feel free to dig out the research references for this statement.) On the way home this evening I smelt smoke and it brought back memories - all good ones.

One of the oldest memories is of stubble fires. Kate Bush put it in the song Never Be Mine:
The smell of burning fields
Will now mean you and here
For me it brings back childhood memories of long rows of smoke and flame. It's not very common these days, which is understandable, but it's a shame because there's something quite exciting about a whole field on fire.

Once I helped someone clear trees and bushes from some land they'd bought so they could build themselves a house. The fire was struggling, but I managed to coax it into life and we burnt lots of wood.

When we first moved into our current house there were some Leylandii trees in the garden. I hate that variety for various reasons, and so I set about getting rid of them. The first stage was to cut off all the side branches and burn them. I spent a lovely couple of hours feeding a fire. I could have set light to the whole lot, but it would burn very quickly and probably set the fence on fire. It also would have meant the fun was over far quicker.

In France a couple of years ago we had a bonfire in the garden of the cottage we were staying at and cooked marshmallows.

Smoke and fire - good memories.

Photo from four4dots


When the authorities were trying to break the deadlock in a siege at Strangeways prison years ago - they eventually resorted to frying onions just out of sight of the hungry prisoners behind the barricade. Eventually it brought them out! Note that people selling brand new houses often infuse the smell of freshly baked bread into the kitchen - it says "homely" apparently. I wonder - is smell the most neglected sense in Christian worship?
Paul Morriss said…
Not in some "high" churches!

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