The heady scent of jasmine in bloom is our first hint that spring is at the door.
My heart jumps with joy at the first whiff of the sweet smell of jasmine in the crisp air of the throes of winter. As winter nears its end in the Southern hemisphere, the scent is a welcome reminder of new beginnings. Every year jasmine blooms, without fail and always on time.
And every year, we comment on how they seem to be blooming earlier this year?
Our six senses all play a key role in how we experience the world. The information each of the senses is sending to our brain, is interpreted, and stored. But of all the senses, our sense of smell has the most direct path to the brain. And the area where it’s housed in is the same part of the brain that processes emotion, memory, and motivation. This makes it imperative for our physical and emotional well-being.
The way the brain recognises, and processes and stores information about scent particles can trigger powerful memories and emotions. You might smell fresh oven-baked bread as you walk past a local bakery and remember a time in New York. Or when someone in the area is mowing their lawn, the smell of cut grass can conjure up images of your youth. The slight whiff of the perfume your mother once wore, can bring you to tears.
My memory of the scent of jasmine stems back to when our family moved out of my childhood home.
In the 50’s my parents had bought one of the first houses to be completed in a newly established suburb. Moving homes was not a common event for most middle-class families. Folks tended to hold on to their homes for longer, often living in the same home until long after retirement. I was in my early teens when my parents decided to sell our house.
For me, moving was a big deal.
My parents found a beautiful home in a leafy suburb, on a quiet road, not too far from where I grew up. I remember the night my Mom and Dad took me to see the new house for the first time. Although it was not far from my childhood home, I felt like I was in another country when I got out of the car. I looked up and down the road, the streetlights seemed to cast a friendly glow onto the road. The dense garden was made visible by subtle driveway lights and a welcoming yellow glow from the light at the front door.
As we entered the gate the sweet smell of jasmine hit my olfactory system, sending it into a frenzy. The scent was coming from a bushy jasmine creeper that had engulfed the trunk of a large palm tree. The tree held a prime position outside the front door, filling the entire area with its rich scent.
My parents had become friends with the folks that were selling the house. They took great pride in showing off their magnificent home. Every room was tastefully decorated. There were charming features like low windowsills, French windows and built-in cupboards which all made this home seem ultra-stylish. The main bedroom had a bathroom en suite and a power room that opened onto a large sparkling blue pool.
In many ways that new home represented new beginnings for me. We had moved into a beautiful new home that was tended and loved by the previous owners. I changed high schools to one closer to our new home. I made new friends in the area and soon I wasn’t an outsider but could say:
“I hail from the Vale!”
Every year around this time I’m invigorated and get an extra skip in my step at the first hint of jasmine in the air. The thoughts of new beginnings, even in these troubling times, still excites me.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏