Saturday, April 12, 2014

Camels Really Do Like the Smell of Tobacco

And lions are attracted to the smell of mint.  Go figure.

Knowing that the sense of smell triggers emotions and memories better than any other sense, I've long been intrigued by what we smell and how it impacts us. So come along with me: I'm going to go into nerd mode for a little while.

For several weeks last month I had lost my sense of smell... and consequently, my sense of taste (80% of what we taste is actually attributed to smell). I couldn't smell the poopy diapers my baby was walking in, or the burning food on the stove, or the must of dirty laundry.  But I also couldn't smell candles burning, flowers on the table, or the food on my plate.  I couldn't smell soap, my daughter's skin, or the gum I was chewing.  It was a bizarre situation.

Not being able to taste food defeats your desire to eat. But not only that, I found that my emotions didn't fluctuate a whole lot throughout the day. I felt more depressed and void.  Seem a little dramatic?  It did to me too.

When I went to the doctor to get my thyroid tested, I got some allergy drops to help combat the constant drainage.  After several days, my sinuses started to clear and I could smell things again.  When I went for a walk, the spring aroma lifted my spirits.  When I came home from the store, our house's smell comforted me. When I got to store, I was set in shopper/task mode. Smells motivate emotions. It's weird, but it's true.

Like a fingerprint, each person has their own distinct smell and is attracted to someone usually subconsciously by their smell.  And we aren't just talking cologne.  As mentioned earlier, animals have favorites too.

Smells that make me almost euphoric: apple-cinnamon (pie anyone?), honeysuckle (heaven's scent), and baking bread. Does it get much better? I'm sure you have your own favorites too.  Almost everyone relaxes at the smell of lavender, is attracted to the smell of leather, and feels energized by peppermint.

It makes me wonder what heaven will smell like.  Mom and I have often said heaven will be spring with honeysuckle wafting through the breeze.  But maybe for you it would smell like magnolia blossoms on a hot summer day or chai and curry...or pine and dirt.  What if it's everything to everyone?  And what if our senses fold over on one another?  A various type of synesthesia? I realize it doesn't really matter and you might be saying, "who cares," but for this sensory, creative, imagination, these are some of the things I contemplate.

I can't help but feel like God treasures smell too.  How many times is fragrant offering mentioned in the Bible?  Are we not to be a pleasing fragrance to those around us?
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 2 Cor. 2:15

I'm not saying He necessarily favors it over the others, but either way, I'm glad God gave us five senses to experience His world, and I am thankful that I can smell again.  It's a simple thing, but one I'm grateful for.


  1. This is such a beautiful post. Thank you!

  2. Sehr schoen, Frau Kuenzle-Hanley!