Open Wide the World


On Scent and a Travel Memory


My sweet, sorrowful attraction to the scent of daffodils began twenty-five years ago. It was my first day at a new school. Barely sixteen, eight thousand miles away from home and family, I had just arrived in New Zealand, where I would spend the next twelve months as an exchange student.

On that first day of school, our small classroom felt overflowing with students who greeted me cheerily. One overly exuberant girl, with a voice as big as her smile, welcomed me with a bouquet of daffodils she had picked on her walk to school.

As I made my way through school that day, and to my new home that night, I carried a heavy burden of homesickness with me. And along with it, I carried the daffodils.

Fighting tears as I fell asleep that night, the smell of the daffodils, now on my dresser, permeated my new room, just as the weight of sadness permeated my heart.

In those twenty-four hours, scent and emotion, daffodils and sorrow, became one. For twenty-five years, every whiff of daffodil has taken me back to that most difficult and most wonderful of days.

The day my life truly began.


Has scent ever had a powerful impact on your life?

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