About a half hour ago I walked down to out mail box - it is about a 50 yard walk down a steep incline and is surrounded by maples and oaks. I was immediately taken back more than 50 years (gee - am I that old?) to my schooldays. It is autumn or fall here in the North Country, and already many of the colorful leaves of the woods and forests of the area are lying on the ground. Today there is steady rain falling outside - it has been falling for some time and is due to continue into the early hours of the morning - indeed there is s flash flood warning out for the region, with much heavier rain forecast for later today. So how was I taken back all that time?
Well, my High School education was at Bromsgrove School in the County of Worcestershire in the UK. Back in those days the quad (I believe it is now called Gordon Green) was surrounded by horse-chestnut trees, and at exactly this time of the year, when the leaves were on the ground and had started to rot, they gave off a distinctive and, to me, very pleasant aroma. I experienced that same aroma today for the first time in all those years (I never once experienced it during my 42 years in southern Africa), and my brain or or consciousness immediately recognized and recalled where I had last smelled it.
The brain and our consciousness is a wonderful thing, with billions and billions of connections between its neurons - more than the number of stars in our galaxy. I have several previous posts that refer to it - just do a search for "consciousness" at the top of the page if you would like to read them. To be able to instantly recall something that has been "in storage" for 55 years is quite remarkable.