I popped a bottle of wine the other night and immediately found myself on my friend’s front porch, with my feet up and the sun dropping. No, it wasn’t a time machine, but something about the sound and smell put me back in that place—just like when I hear the Eagles sing Take it Easy, I find myself driving back roads with my high school friends.
So, is it olfactory recall or auditory recall? I think it’s probably both—the combo of the cork popping and the first aroma of the wine reaching my nose. This sensation has always intrigued me. They say it happens with smells because your olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system—which they call the emotional brain. I like the science behind it, but am more inclined to embrace the literary term,Proustian Memory. I mean, sometimes it’s better just to acknowledge that something is, not why it is.
Regardless, when it happens with a bottle of wine, it feels more magic. Drinking wine has such ritual properties and often punctuates significant moments in my life, so when it calls up other significant moments, it makes me stop and reflect. Inevitably, I think about the good memories and feel grateful or I remember the bad moments and still chuckle—because here I am, still standing, and getting ready to drink a glass of wine. I know that I am lucky to be able to laugh and toast to some of the not so good memories. Memories live all around us and make us who we are—at some level. If you can celebrate the good ones and the bad ones, over a bottle of wine, you’ve got it pretty good.
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