At the end of the band Oasis' track "Get Off Your High Horse, Lady" there are several seconds during which you hear only the sound of footsteps on gravel. This sound brought to mind a strange combination of vivid memories; my grandparents' gravel driveway and the sound of cars arriving for holiday meals with our family, climbing up the gravel covered hill toward the Fort Saint Andre in Villeneuve Les Avignon, France where I studied acting as a college student, and now, coincidentally, the erratic activity of my children as they run, and skip, and play on the gravel walkways surrounding our new family home - an old converted barn - in Traverse City, Michigan.
And so, gravel becomes more than gravel. It is transformed into long ago Thanksgiving Day table chatter, the excitement of being young and alone abroad, and the joy of watching your children play.
I have always been fascinated by how sound and smell can conjure such vivid recollections and how they can record a moment in time to be replayed, seemingly out of the blue, many years after the first event. Sometimes the remembrance of things past is so strong it pierces the heart with sorrow or coaxes a laugh to escape the lips. It's these little sensual reminders that connect a lifetime of events to all the people, places, and experiences that came before.
Stop. Inhale. Listen. This is what you'll remember in order to remember.