The Circle

 i was invited by the lovely roxana of illuminatedperfume.etsy.com  to participate in a Blog-o-Rama ADVENTure, where a series of posts for each day of the advent have added by individuals on their blogs --the theme is scent and the holidays. i must admit, that i've been terribly nervous about writing on a topic that i am not very knowledgeable about--and in the face of some very eloquent, elegant and beautifully written posts i would hate to disappoint-- but i've had some time to dwell on the subject -- to let the thoughts waft my way(  forgive me--io just had to...) over the days leading up to my day to post-- the day before the winter solstice-- a "sun-standing"-- the shortest day of winter and the longest night in the year of 2009...

over the days of letting thoughts drift in and out regarding scent-- i found myself falling back in time, in memory-- in and out of the past. down the wormholes that defy time and space--a journey. my relationship to scent, and i'm guessing this may be true for many of us, is through strong relationship with events--positive --or negative...

when i smell lilacs, i can't help but travel back instantly to a vision firmly planted in my brain of the house i grew up in, and the lilac bush that grew outside our back door. each spring, that incredible fragrance would sweep me off my feet. i remember lingering near the bushes,  pushing my nose into the soft pale violet colored clusters, feeling the coolness of the tiny petals on my face, sharing space with bumblebees who loved the aroma just as much or more than me-- it was for me the essence, the sign, the epitome of spring. we would cut some of the branches loaded with the blossoms and bring them into the house. they filled me with a feeling of happiness, contentment, their beauty and fragrance raised my spirits-- however ephemeral those moments were-- i am forever tied to those lovely and compelling flowers and their enthralling and uplifting scent.  the thing that amazes me most--is that the smell is etched in my brain and i can call it to the front at anytime....

i have a similar memory and feeling when i recall winter moments as a child --spending hours outside in the snow, building forts and making secret dwellings, often content to be alone-- my favorite place to hide and spend time was under a group of low growing evergreens. the bottom branches were just high enough for me to sit under  --but low and full enough --like a canopy -- to create the perfect hide-away.. i made snow pies covered with juniper berries. i pretended i was an inuit. i  was surrounded by the smells of snow, and refreshing scent of evergreen-- bright and energizing--full of promise -- a smell i remember as embracing-- just as the evergreen trees covered and protected me.. i feel a strong sense of tenderness and love for the trees-- so naturally, during the winter months and holiday season i feel my kinship with the trees, their stoic grace, and vibrant aroma bring me back to myself-- as a little girl-- my time of innocence and hours of play and imagination... i'm sure the hours i spent alone in my own little world as a child fueled my ability to work and create in my studio -- to find contentment in my solitude..

 long ago --when i had time to read-- i embarked on reading marcel proust's, remembrance of things past. i never finished the two volumes-- but i was impressed by a certain chapter, "combray" -- i went in search of the passage that had stayed with me for all of these years and found it this morning-- it's as beautiful as i remembered it:

".. but when from a long distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest: and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection."

and now i leave you with a list of favorite year round smells:
sea water, sea air, sea salt, sea creatures, the sweet smell of horses, horse manure, horse stalls, hay, oats, the smell of tack rooms, leather, leather polish, the cobbler's shop, of metal, of clay, of fire.. the smell of garlic, onions, bread baking, cookies baking, sauce cooking, soup simmering, the tangy and refreshing scents of tangerine, orange, lemon, lime, of pineapple, mango, apple, sweet strawberries, honey, cinnamon, clove, pepper, cardomom, chai, toast toasting, vegetables roasting, the smell of rain, rain on hot pavement, of lightning, of thunder, of tar in the heat of summer and of hot water that erupts when you pop the tar bubbles, the smell of ozone,  of grass, of fields, of magnolias,  lilacs, and honeysuckle in the spring, of roses and lavender in the summer, of lakes, rivers, streams, rocks, leaves, worms, frogs, of evergreens,  snow, wet wool, dry wool, of hair, of my cats, of my children's heads, of feet, of hands, of necks, underarms, breath, heat, sweat, the smell of love..

many thanks to you roxana and best wishes for a year full of energy, excitement, creativity, seeking, finding, learning, and fulfillment to you and all!

here is one of roxana's new chocolate fragrances - "deep dark and mysterious"-- find it in roxana's etsy shop illuminatedperfume


  1. oh what a wonderful post. It took me down my own scent memory lane. it's funny how we forget, but as soon as we take a moment to sit still and remember, all these incredible memories and experiences come back, and as if they are here and right now. Have a wonderful holdays Kathi, and a sensational 2010! :) Kristina

  2. hey kristina-- it is amazing isn't it?-- i so seldom take the moment to let it happen-- but as soon as i tried to remember-- it was like the dam broke -- so many wonderful memories came back thanks to my nose and the smells that were captured thanks to it-- hah!! thanks so much for stopping in and i hope you enjoy some great scented trips to the past-- have a wonderful holiday and a spectacular new year!!

  3. Wow, we must have been separated at birth - lilacs and horses and mangoes and rain on hot pavement! Thank you for the lovely memories, they have stirred mine as well.

  4. hi flora-- i see that one of your favorite movies is lord of the rings... yes-- we must share some of the same dna!! thanks for stopping in-- happiest holidays to you...

  5. Late here, but grateful for all your passions !
    May you enjoy the finest of the season .

  6. I'll take this chance, Kathi, to wish you a wonderful holiday season! Loved reading your story, too! Wishing you the best for 2010! XXX Dawn

  7. thanks for stopping in and paying a visit chayruchama-- it's been so nice to a part of this lovely activity!

    ..and dawn, you always make me smile-- i feel your warm vibe all the way through the ether-- thanks for making a stop here-- XOXO --enjoy your holidays.

    and i hope 2010 brings much creativity and fulfillment for both of you!!

  8. Hey Kath, you are an excellent writer, so you should NEVER be nervous. I couldn't have come up with one good sounding paragraph - thank God nobody asked me to write for it, my brain just doesn't work that way.... and sometimes doesn't work at all! LOL! Great job, i enjoyed that very much, ....but lilacs make me sneeze.......bummer.
    laura xxoo

  9. hey eagle eye-- well i'm sure you noticed that once i get going-- i tend to go on at length-- somebody get me an editor!!

    and just after you added your comment i had someone leave a comment in japanese connected to some porno site-- nice way to round out the advent- ture-- hah.