The Memories of Smell

The sense of smell is easy to neglect when writing any kind of scene.  I’m always forgetting to include it myself, and I have to make an effort to check for it.

But consider the following:

When I was deployed to the Persian Gulf for Desert Storm, we had a long and exhausting flight.  After we arrived, we drove around for hours before finally stopped at a port that was a temporary staging area.  We dropped our great under a carport for trucks and sprawled out on the ground to go to sleep.

And I couldn’t sleep because, all night long —

The smell.

Asphalt, completely saturated with oil.

It’s still the most memorable thing about my first day in Saudi Arabia, even 21 years later.

What smells have been most memorable for you?