Julie Andrews dancing in a field of mountain wildflowers. An iconic moment of visceral bliss. Puts a smile on your face, right? Welcome. Glad you stopped by. Take another sip of your current beverage. And then step into my spring, and how it sings.
Here is the image I was ready to go with when the concept of "spring" came to mind:
To me, spring--as those of you who stop by on a regular basis know--is all about things rumbling in the dirt, a stirring to life, a difficult and messy and beautiful process that is all about energy bumping heads with rest and bringing color and smells back into the world. Worms squirming around in the dirt are all about that. They turn and aerate the soil, fertilizing it along the way. They wriggle out of the soil when it rains, providing yet another reminder that the snow is gone and a new season has begun. They provide a sort of endless fascination for kids and grownups, who might be entranced or repulsed but are somehow always compelled to take a look. They move under the soil and attract the attention of the returned birds, who cock their heads sideways and give a little "knock, knock" to the ground to get the worms to come to the surface, then yank them up like some sort of stop-action spaghetti slurping.
Worms. Dirt. That's just the start of it.
Things start pushing up out of the ground. Green emerges from muck, even as the detritus of the last cycle of life continues to litter (and eventually nourish) the ground. Fresh energy, alongside stasis. From a bland landscape of hard frozen texture and monotonous color, rumblings begin.
I love this moment, when you can be like a forest creature and put your nose up to the air and start smelling changes in the air. Even the breeze smells and feels different. It could be a misty grey day, or it could be one of those suddenly brilliant sunny days when you are reminded that the sun can actually cast a warm light, and not just the sharp white light of winter.
Once you get enough of that light, changes come.
Early life pops out, and you can feel things starting to hum with potential energy.
It is this crazy conflagration of clinging chill and insistent warmth, of final rest and yawping birth, of messy sludge and impossible blooms, that sings spring to me. It is difficult, it is easy. You can jump in and be part of it, or you can passively observe. But it's gonna happen--a proposition that seems questionable in the early going, but eventually becomes undeniable.
☃ ☁ ☀ ☼ ☺
What fragrances help sing this process? Ones that either echo the whole big mess, or that pull out elements of the orchestration.
An example of the whole orchestration: Niki Saint Phalle. It's all in there, the dirt, the herbal bitterness, the lift, the knowing that if you stick it through, you'll have a drydown that is "interesting" if you come in at the end, but absolutely beautiful if you went through the pain of its development.
Examples of elements of the orchestration: The easy entry here is Diorissimo. Lily of the Valley hasn't arrived here yet; that is a note that sings toward the end of the spring symphony. But it is powerful, and so uniquely recognizable that its call has entranced many a wearer. The wink-wink nod-nod entry is CBIHP Black March, because it sounds the note of dirt. If I'm in a picky mood, I point out that in my nose it is the smell of potting soil, and not of humus rich earth dirt. But I'm okay with that. I like hearing this particular voice, which coincides with the gardener's activity of starting seeds and potting up outdoor plants.
Then there are the Impressionist versions of the symphony, which capture the mood, the experience, even suggestions of particular voices, without being so direct. This year, Temps d'une Fete has been getting a lot of chatter. And deservedly so. When I found this last spring, I found myself wanting to twirl around like Julie Andrews up there. Oh, green goodness that knows how to balance a sweet floral lift and a raspy sort of something that makes sure the potion isn't cloying going down.
In this spirit, I offer you a down and dirty (could there be any other?) short list of scents that sing spring. Please share what's not here that you'd add, or how you'd change things around. I might come back and mess with it myself.
AA Herba Fresca
Violets & Rainwater (Liz Zorn)
Fleur de Narcisse
Niki Saint Phalle
Grin (Ayala Moriel)
Bois Blond --note: this is a shorter piece, played by chamber orchestra
Le Temps d'une Fete
Green Oakmoss (Liz Zorn)
Un Matin d'Orage
Happy spring, everybody. Thanks for spending a little of it here.
Now that you are done, you might like to set a spell with the other bloggers participating in today's project. They are:
Katie Puckrik Smells | Perfume Shrine | The Non Blonde | I Smell Therefore I Am | Notes from the Ledge | Scent Hive | Savvy Thinker | Roxana's Illuminated Journal | Perfume in Progress | All I Am A Redhead | Ambre Gris | Olfactarama | A Rose Beyond the Thames | Smelly Blog
first image a still from The Sound of Music; second image from the Input to the Garden blog; all other images the author's own