As I stepped through my front door, out of my home and into the world yesterday, I found myself wading amid a flood of Jasmine. The aroma of this sweet-smelling flower was all-consuming, it saturated the air.
Jasmine is a gift in my life. Each time I smell it, a wave of nostalgia washes through me.
I breathe it in, and I find myself back in the 1990s, in my winter school uniform, standing outside the paint shop on Magill Road after school, waiting for the bus to take me home.
A corrugated fence ran alongside the paint shop. Over the years a Jasmine plant had crawled its way up on and over it.
During the winter months, it sat, a stalky vine, barren of flowers and aroma.
With biting winds lashing against me and grey skies above, I would stand at the bus stop in my thick brown stockings, dull blue tunic and heavy blazer. We didn't have smartphones back then, so my only option would be to stare into the distance, and watch the traffic drive past me as my brain churned through the events of the day. I felt an eternity pass in every minute that ticked by.
As winter slugged its way into its final days, the little green leaves and white buds would slowly start to form a pattern over the rusty corrugated fence.
Then 'that' day would arrive. On auto-mode as per usual, I'd wander over to the fence where I’d drop my bag to my feet and wait, until finally, the first smell of Jasmine would unravel itself within my olfactory system, and my heart would soar.
It was like an alarm bell, alerting me to the shift in seasons ahead, the promise of sunny days, t-shirts, shorts, beach days and melting ice-cream cones.
I would turn to the Jasmine bush and bury my face in its blanket of flowers.
With a pang of guilt, I would then pinch off a small stretch of flowers and shove them into my blazer pocket, so that I could grab sneaky sniffs as I made my way home on the bus. The fresh Jasmine would pierce through the dank air of tired students in their damp, woollen blazers.
A couple of decades and a few years later, this memory is re-ignited every time Jasmine’s fresh, first release of fragrance finds me.
What aroma takes you back to a precious memory of a place, time or person? We all have one, and when you discover it, take the time to just stop and immerse yourself in the sweep of images and emotions before they float off on the next breeze.