Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Perspective / Happy Solstice

There is an optical illusion that impressed itself upon my brain in my youth.  You are likely aware of it.

I retired last night, wondering if conditions meteorological and somnambulogical would allow for me to see a lunar eclipse on the solstice.

Alas, the heavens brought snow to ease the way for jolly old sorts in sleighs later this week, but obscured any hope of seeing glowing orange orbs hovering overhead.

Real ones, in the sky, at least.

My meandering thoughts took me past things razor's edge.  Lean this way, and things appear so.  Lean a little in another direction, and they are something else.  A lamp.  Two faces.

Mushroom.  The ghost of Apres L'Ondee.

The second would be, of course, Frederic Malle / Maurice Roucel's Dans Tes Bras.  In a phenomenon different from "morphing," when a perfume progresses from one something to another something, but consistently behaves as such from wearing to wearing, the olfactory illusion creates a different experience depending upon approach.  With Dans Tes Bras, if I come to it at just the right point in its drydown...just as the opening notes start to settle, before violet and heliotrope really first start to appear, the overlay between the opening and next unfolding smells like...mushrooms.  Yes, I get what people were saying when this one first came out.  Mushrooms.  Which I missed at the time.  And yet got something earthy.  Fifth trip in, I ran around with an "aha! Apres L'Ondee!! it's in there!!!" moment.

Fall.  Spring.  Something its own.  Something that puts a ghost in a prism.

All depending on what your perspective is that day, and where/when you put your eyes/nose to it.

Which got me to thinking about winter, and long nights, and icicles.  And how radically different scents come up as "winter," depending on who is talking or who is looking.  L'Eau d'Hiver, because it is white (Tom), or because it smells like that icicle (actually, she says snow) when it melts in your hand (Bois de Jasmin, who is writing again btw, oh happy happy).  Nuit de Noel, because it is the smell of that which is wonderful about Christmas Eve, snug and happy with loved ones (Patty), or because it's simplicity conveys all that is good about Christmas, simple pleasures and time with friends (Yesterday's Perfume).

There they are.  Both winter attached.  And yet very different, the light ethereal shimmery Hiver and the simple thick orange confection Nuit de Noel.  Perspective.

There is something fitting about these contrasts that should be either/or but become "and" when they pass through a certain part of your mental process.  Something fitting when apehelion and perehelion become bandied in ways you usually don't hear unless you are in science class.

Something a little wonderful about the fully "lit" moon, which is really just reflecting the sun's light, being obscured by your/our/the earth's shadow, which allows it to change color and character, if only for a little bit.

May your solstice allow for many happy discoveries.


Vanessa said...

Apehelion and perehelion? Our Wafting Webster is back, hurrah!

I wore Apres L'Ondee on Thursday to my appointments in the Bay Area. The first was sick, the second was wrong. For the first time ever it didn't just add a wistfully attenuated note in the background of my day - it brought me right down. I may not go near it again for a while, unless I have a funeral to attend, which it couldn't really spoil.

Perspective, as you say, is all.

Jen said...

I intend to pepper as many conversations as possible with the word "somnambulogical"!

Vanessa said...

Hear, hear Jen - somnambulogical peppering is coming easy to me in my current jetlagged state.

: - )

ScentScelf said...


Oh, my. Melancholy turned downer. I agree--time to put it far back in the cupboard for a while.

And while I ruefully chuckle at the funeral application (both in terms of skin and purpose), I hope that perhaps once the Ondee gets a suitable break, it might emerge as potentially melancholoy/hopeful again. If it were me, my fear would be that it would become forever funereal.

Of course, it's not a bad signature send off.

ScentScelf said...


:) heh...a successful coinage...

Musette said...


Ow! See, that's why I don't wear that stuff! LOL! I wore A l'O for some wildly inappropriate situations and it has made me want to kill myself. Mitsouko, on the other hand...now, see, My Precious Mitsouko will have you wanting to kill OTHERS! Much more preferable!

Just a thought, as you all ponder somnabulogicalisms :-) I'm going to take a nap! Wearing Mitsouko, no less!


ps. SS, glad to have you back!

ScentScelf said...

Hey, Musette, when you're done napping, bring back a somnabulogicalism of your own, okay? I'm thinking it's not likely to pull any punches, whatever it is, being Mitsouko induced and all. ;)

Thanks, btw, to you and V for the friendly greeting upon return. :)

Anonymous said...

Here's a happy discovery - glad to see you return as the days lengthen by a smidge of a smudge. Happy days are here again. And happy hopeful scents, Santa, to see us through to Spring.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

ScentScelf said...

Seasons Greetings to you, Anna.

Longer light and happy hopeful scents. I'll toast the length of a smidge and a smudge with those. :)

Rose said...

Oh yes Dan Tes Bras and Apres L'Ondee, I get it that very well- in scent and in character completely- Dan Tes Bras has the weight of wars and new chemicals in it- I really love both

Winter perfumes- I like hiver very very much- I actually quite like it in the summer! But Nuit De Noel is what I will be wearing tomorrow x

ScentScelf said...

"...the weight of wars and new chemicals..." Love that, Rose. Chuckling, because now cashmeran will forever be ready for battle in my imagination.

I like Hiver year 'round, myself. More a mood than a weather scent for me. Have not yet decided what I'm wearing tomorrow...