Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vanilla and spring air

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

I saw a production of 1776 last night.  It's great to be at the theater...the smell of the greasepaint...the roar of the crowd...if you are in the audience, the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd....

Naw, the crowd smelled fine.  Not going to launch into a discussion of appropriate scents for close quarters with unfamiliars.  (Though I must say, I was wearing En Passant, and it seemed just right, including for that consideration.)  I was struck, however, when John and Abigail Adams are singing their letters to each other, and John asks

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

It rang a few sympathetic chords.  First of all, spring has been a long time coming here in the Great Lakes midwest, and yesterday was notable for being a flat out true spring day, with a variety of birds chirping, sun shining, additional bulbs blooming, hosta peeking up, no jacket required, people in the park, etc. etc.  And the day continued into night, weatherwise, for the very first time.  I was able to step outside during intermission and leave my coat inside.  The air was fresh, but no longer winter crisp.  Today's rain is going to bring the perfect note on top, the smell of wet warmed earth and green growing bursting through.

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

The line also got me thinking historically.  There's been a lot of love going around the blogs for Vanille Galante recently.  Haven't had a chance to try it myself.  Certainly have enjoyed vanilla in other perfumes, like Kenzo Amour, and Organza Indecence.  But vanilla, the pods, the extract, the cooking, the texture...that's what would have scented Abigail.  Abigail there in the northeast, also spending every year anticipating spring.  Abigail, encouraging her spouse to his cause, raising kids on her own on a farm that was failing.  Making saltpeter.  Do you suppose she made saltpeter, and wondered if that was what her spouse now smelled like?  (Of course, he was in congress, not at war.)

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

A lot of us are switching to trying to smell like spring air right now, or at least adjusting our scents to work with the spring air.  And, of course, there is the perennial question of the Signature Scent, the holy grail of the one perfume you could wear always.  That defines you, by reflecting you and/or describing you.  Inviting a discussion about what it means to be described:  does it capture a set of experienceable qualities?  does it translate knowns into an amalgamated metaphor of you?  does it provide something new, something other, which isn't a document of tangibles but of an idea of you?

...spring air...

There is of course a metaphor lurking right on the surface of that lyric.  Does Abigail literally smell of spring air, as she does of vanilla?  Does John think of her smell as that scent idea, whatever the clean fresh growing smell of spring means to a given individual?  

...do you still smell of...

I needed this smell of spring air this year.  Of course--is there ever a year when it is not welcome and needed?  But this winter started early, came in hard, and lasted a loooooong time...accompanied by lots of relentless turmoil in my civilian life.  Nothing that shall go in the history books like Franklin, but the kind of thrumming that becomes part of the landscape...until the landscape itself changes.  

Spring, bringer of changes in the landscape.  Visually.  Aurally.  Scentsually.

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

Joy in constancy and familiarity...joy whose absence leads to longing and nostalgia for the same.  And yet, that spring air also brings the idea of change, rebirths, fresh starts.  To have the ability to experience both in one life...

Thank goodness for spring air.


19 comments:

BitterGrace said...

What a lovely post. It dances around that line from the play in a way I really like.

ScentScelf said...

Thanks, BG. Good to see you here.

Rose said...

Wow what a great post. It's been a very long winter here too- well we hardly had summer last year. I am definitely very thankful for spring air and the changes it brings

ScentScelf said...

Rose...
I was going to toast to a new spring with you -- which I shall do in a moment ;) -- but something about you mentioning also having a long winter reminded me that there is a runic symbol for ice, meaning the element to which all things must return before being reborn/changing. I should say there's been plenty of reinforcement on that front, eh?

Always nice to see you here...and now...here's to spring!

Musette said...

Absolutely lovely post. It rained here from Sat afternoon until this early morning. Funny how a warmish Spring rain, with the robins bathing in puddles, can delight (Sat) where a harder, colder rain (Sun) drives everyone indoors and to bed. But the redbuds are blooming and there are still bluebells under the trees. A colder spring is a small price to pay for bluebells!
Calving has begun and the chicks are getting adjusted to the outside air. You can smell all that around here - in the hinterlands the seasons are so much more obvious.

Today is Spring-cool. I'm wearing Violets and Rainwater (yesterday required Femme). I enjoy the coolness of Spring, when we get it - there's nothing more disastrous that lilacs up and gone in 24 hrs. Summer will be here soon enough.

xoxoo

ScentScelf said...

Musette,
You are spot on about cool springs. There is a reason for them to start off cool...lets the bulbs show off for more than two days, brings those fresh hints of the bursting buds to come. Speaking of calving, my issue with this winter into spring transition is that the "birthing" of spring seemed to be on a perpetual delay...if James Herriot were involved, we'd have had to call him to help get spring OUT, for pete's sake.

That said, it appears to have been repeatedly delayed, but finally progressing, this birthing of spring...

Nươc hoa said...

I love smelling smell of vanilla and spring air.

ScentScelf said...

Nu'o'c...

:) It's a good place to be, isn't it?

Musette said...

Per our conversation last night I tried Vanille Galante (sp?) - interesting. Will def share with you. Opens rather harsh, in my opinion, which is unusual for a JCE but ends up very pleasantly. I forgot that I spritzed it last night and was wondering what that lovely scent was on my wrist. Of course, that was some 8 hours later - wonder how long it takes in the conscious world?

xo

Perfumeshrine said...

That reverdie style of writing catches me every time. Sounds like an interesting play! I hadn't heard of it, so should definitely investigate.
And yes, isn't scent memory something that stays with us, even after other things, more important things perhaps, have gone from our consciousness?
I was about to propose sending a sample of Vanille Galante but someone got me first....oh well, next time :-)

Jenavira13 said...

What a gorgeous post! Lovely writing and as your spring arrives, mine fleets away with summer heat.

Rose said...

Hey, agreed that is very interesting about the ice- perhaps having the most snow we've had for years has been a re- start in Britain... hmm

trish said...

Warm spring days are very much needed here in the northwest. Thankfully we've had some lovely sunny days as of late.

Magazine St by Strange Invisible Perfumes is where I go when I need a vanilla fix, it's balanced by vetiver which is always welcome in my perfumes!

ScentScelf said...

Musette,
Interesting about the Vanille Galante...and, of course, further piques my curiosity. I love that "hey, what smells so good...wait; it's me!" experience.

ScentScelf said...

Helg,
<<<<<< :-) >>>>>>>
Just enjoying another scent memory reverie...
Glad to have you stop by; I'm sure we'll get to sharing samps at some point. ;)

ScentScelf said...

Jen,
That seems nearly impossible, that spring could be leaving your part of the world...we're definitely still in entry phase...

ScentScelf said...

Rose,
Here's hoping the British snow signals a positive restart for you...perhaps your recent vacation served a similar purpose? :)

ScentScelf said...

Trish,
Magazine St, eh? I am not familiar with that one at all. Will need to research...and smell...
...am a fan of Black Rosette, more for the "ride" than the scent, and because that is the perfume that totally kidnapped me into the perfume realm.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Ahh nothing beats a springtime night at the theatre... once again- great post!