A few years ago, I went to one of my high school reunions. It was March, and the school was shut up tight against the cold, the heat pumping through the old-fashioned radiators. I had the opportunity to explore the building and I let myself into a dark, close room. When I entered, I was hit with the smell of the school in winter and I was flooded with visceral memories. Being in that room filled me with longing for the (mostly) happy years I had spent in that school.
Our sense of smell is one of our strongest memory triggers. A smell of rotting food brings me right back to when I worked behind the scenes at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament; baking bread reminds me of when I lived near a bread factory and I was greeted by a warm and yeasty odor every morning; some drug store perfumes makes me miss my first grade teacher.
Describe a time that a scent has taken you back—and what it took you back to. Alternately, try to recreate or revisit a smell from you past—bake that bread or sniff that candle—and see what it conjures for you.