I find that smell is often the most underrated of our five senses. We see, we hear, we touch, we taste, and, oh yeah, we smell. With food, oh that sure smells good, but we really don't appreciate the food until we taste it. With flowers, they may smell good, but we usually don't sit around smelling them all day, we put them in a special place where we can see them.
I can tell where Kylie has been by the way she smells. Most people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that, but it's true. I know she has been with my husband because she will smell like his deodorant which she loves to put on and will have a faint scent of his cologne if they went out anywhere. Kylie smells like Banana Boat sunscreen when she's been spending time with my dad, who wears the stuff religiously. She's been doing doing crafts and will smell of tempera paint. What my husband has cooked that night for dinner.
Sometimes it's much subtler. How certain houses will have certain smells. I won't be able to pinpoint an individual one, but am able to recognize the source. My sister in laws' house. Day care.
As I've gotten older I've started to realize how much I associate certain memories with smells. The smell of DEET bug spray always reminds me of the summers I spent as a kid at my grandparent's cabin in Northern Idaho. Picking daisies in the front field, searching for wild strawberries among the ferns in the forest in the back. Feeding the neighbor's horses carrots and then walking down the road to swim in the Pack River.
Spending the week before school started at my grandparents' house in San Fernando Valley. The smell of my grandma's walk in pantry, of the mulberry tree in their back yard. The smell of dust and books in the small library that we would walk down the back alley to.
How my husband smells after coming home from a long night of work. Slightly of sweat, Monster Absolute Zero, diesel fuel, and grease. How Kylie smells of Burt's Bees and Tide when I put her to bed with her freshly washed hair and jammies warm from the dryer.
I love how these smells can comfort me and ultimately take me back to a place in time when no photographs are to be seen.