Smell is a strange way of seeing

Smell is a strange way of seeing. It evokes sentimental scenes, sketched all of a sudden by the subconscious. I’ve often experienced this. I’m walking down a street. I see nothing, or rather, I look all around and see the way everyone sees. I know I’m walking down a street and don’t know that it exists with two sides comprised of variously shaped buildings made by human hands. I’m walking down a street. The smell of bread from a bakery nauseates me with its sweetness, and my childhood rises up from a distant neighbourhood, and another bakery emerges from that fairyland which is everything we ever had that has died. I’m walking down a street. Suddenly I smell the fruit on the slanted rack of the small grocery, and my short life in the country – I can’t say from when or where – has trees in the background and peace in what can only be my childhood heart. I’m walking down a street. I’m unexpectedly thrown off balance by the smell of crates from the crate-maker’s: my dear Cesário! You appear before me and at last I’m happy, for I’ve returned by way of memory to the only truth, which is literature.

Fernando Pessoa
Bernardo Soares, ''The Book of Disquiet'' (Text 268)
Photo from the movie ''Lisbon story'' by Wim Wenders

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