The smell of smoke brings me home
November 17, 2017 10:12pm CST
Often, some scents trigger a certain memory which gives you all the right nostalgic feels. I think they call it olfactory memory or something. I grew up in the Philippines and migrated to Australia in 2013. Back home, it's always a habit especially among older women ( or men, too) to burn dead leaves in the afternoon, after they've raked it into one big pile. Along with it, are the other garbage they've collected throughout the day. Mostly, paper. Now, I know that isn't a very healthy habit especially for people with breathing problems but it has become very customary and common that as soon as it hits 3 or 4 o'clock, an entire town is engulfed in a thick, choking, fog. (That's a bit exaggerated, but yeah.) So everytime we light up the fireplace/furnace during winter, or sometimes when I go out, and smell the smoke coming out of the chimney, that all-too-familiar smell really reminds me of home. Are there certain smells or scents that remind you of home, or something or someone?
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Oh is it? There's so much that Asian countries share in terms of habits, that I find. It's not common in bigger cities now though, obviously, but in my hometown, where life is still highly provincial, we still get some of those who burn their leaves in the afternoon.
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I can understand why it has to be forbidden though because it's a big health hazard. When my mom had cancer, she couldn't stand that smell at all so much so that we had to request our neighbors not to do it. Or if they can't help it, to let us know in advance so we can drive my mom to the beach in the afternoons and avoid all that smoke.
I'm sure it brings back really memorable thoughts of when you were younger. Some people may think the smell of dung is revolting but I, too, grew up visiting my grandpa's farm and later in life, I also moved to the rural area where cows abound. So yes, that smell, reminds me of home too. Weird as it is.
like marguicha, it happened here in our neighborhood regularly way back in the past, when we were growing up. maybe it depends also on where you used to live here? (i'm in ncr) i guess having a fireplace/furnace means you have to go out and chop and store your own firewood?
There are many ways to source it now. Some shops sell them, some timber manufacturers sell or give bits and pieces of leftover timber away, some homeowners who've had their trees chopped off give them away as well, and some people in the farms may collect firewood within their land but most of us we just buy them.
• United States
I also grew up in the Philippines and migrated here in the US in 2012. I now what you mean about the smell of smoke, especially in the province. My grandma and aunts would do this a little before sunset. They say the smoke will keep mosquitoes at bay, and will promote the growth of fruit-bearing trees. For me I think the smell that triggers my memory is that of coconut oil. It reminds me of the "manghihilot" and the feeling of being relaxed and aches-free.