Saturday Morning

David Kanigan never ceases to amaze me…

Live & Learn

Smoke: tobacco burning, coal smoke, wood-fire smoke, leaf smoke. Most of all, leaf smoke. This is the only odor I can will back to consciousness just by thinking about it. I can sit in a chair, thinking, and call up clearly to mind the smell of burning autumn leaves, coded and stored away somewhere in a temporal lobe, firing off explosive signals into every part of my right hemisphere. But nothing else: if I try to recall the thick smell of Edinburgh in winter, or the accidental burning of a plastic comb, or a rose, or a glass of wine, I cannot do this; I can get a clear picture of any face I feel like remembering, and I can hear whatever Beethoven quartet I want to recall, but except for the leaf bonfire I cannot really remember a smell in its absence. To be sure, I know the odor…

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