December 6, 2009

12/7 - Advent - Anticipation - Looking Forward

The season of Advent ties in with many spiritual traditions, and our bodily and psychological cycles too, and it all comes down to the confident anticipation and belief that something truly good is coming soon.

There is a sense of excited expectation at this part of the year, with all the preparations and parties, and the scent of winter greens brought indoors, and the beautiful light of candles and fireplaces and the tiny ones used everywhere for decorations.  In combination with the crispness of winter air, the ambiance and scents often suddenly connect us to the energy and hope of our very young selves.  It's inspiring to think about possible resolutions to help us shape our paths for the chance of a fresh start.  It's getting down to the wire to the darkest days of the year, when there will be only about seven hours of day light, but as soon we hit that mark the days lengthen again and we know in our bones this means Spring is coming.  We all celebrate this one way or another.

In this part of the world, the Advent weeks are the heart of winter, and to my mind, all about coziness and nesting, contrasting with the bracing cold, the consciousness of the coming end of a year, and thinking about what is to come.  My personal traditional heart-of-winter scent list is made up of essences of balsam fir, black spruce, the incense notes of frankincense and myrrh, pure wax candles, cinnamon and clove and orange peel, maple syrup,  hot chocolate and whipped cream,  wood burning down in a fireplace, the scent of fresh cotton flannel sheets and the hints of perfumes past  that cling to the coats and scarves I pull out of the closet (CB Wild Hunt and Ava Luxe Moss).  Also wonderful is the comfort of a hot shower before facing the cold morning, especially if scented with a rich soap.  I'll make up small batches of a moisturizing and fragrant body oil with frankincense and many other elements  to impart a velvety texture to the skin, to give as gifts.  These are all mini celebrations that go straight to the brain directly from the nose, and help make the dark cold winter days into an anticipation and celebration of the turn of a new year.

Because it has turned so much colder, I feel it is safe now to bring out what I call the big guns of perfume in my possession, such as Opium, Poivre, Marron Chic, and Myrrhe Ardente.  They love the winter, and are brought out by body heat and unfold into the cold air in a such way that is mutually flattering to their composition and the person.  At home I can light a Guerlain candle of Cuir Russie to re-read the great old Russians. 

I think about the cultures that lived in long winter seasons and nights like Scandinavia and Russia, and how they used this time of year to paint their furniture and interiors with colorful patterns and nature motifs, and knit patterned wool sweaters, and sew quilts and write novels, and meditate in the steam bathhouses, and drink and party and endlessly discuss the state of the world.  These are also the people who go really crazy in the summer, loving it all the more intensely because it is so short.  Sometimes the wait, as in the season of advent, makes the arrival of what we hope for much sweeter.

I am grateful to Roxana of Illuminated Perfume for bringing us all together to share our stories of Advent, one each day.  It feels like we are all around a campfire with each voice, each personal connection to the power of scent, illuminated in turn.  I am glad too that Roxana makes and continues to focus on composing fragrances made with precious materials by hand, with thoughtfulness and refinement.  It is a great pleasure and beauty to smell the scent of California oak leaves captured in solid perfume, softly breathing out from the wrist or neck, even in the darkness and cold of winter.  The style and texture of solid perfumes especially suit the season, and I anticipate the new Chocolate, with great pleasure.
Illustration above from Roxana
Here is a list of the other bloggers participating:


chayaruchama said...

Yes, my champion nester !

Lovely memories of a season for profound reflection.
And facility and ease of graceful delivery....

[My sister, my soul]

Trish said...


What a lovely and thoughtful post about scent and this time of year. I too look forward to Roxana's Chocolate fragrances! Another holiday association in the making to be sure :-)


Roxana said...

Lucy...I soooo love this idea of all of us joining at the campfire to share our stories. What a fantastic metaphor!! I relate to many things you have eloquently transcribed here. Thank you for sharing your perceptive, sensitive soul with us.

Lucy said...

Chaya, Trish, Roxana, we are all making good things come for the new year, simply by pressing on with our goals and loving our true loves in every field of endeavor. It has been such a pleasure to get to know all of you more over this past year and your very individual, beautifully wrought personalities, skills and graces.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucy. Just discovered your blog and that we have some common passions: niche perfumes and admiration of the SAPE.

Yet though I love niche perfumes and reading blogs about them, I have very little knowledge in the area. For example, I don't even know what "decants" are (though I can guess), and how I might buy some. Any advice gratefully received. Cheers, Solid Gold Creativity.

Flora said...

Wow, that's beautiful! I want to just dive into those fragrant memories of yours, not to mention your perfume choices!

Lucy said...

Dear SCG -- look around at all the perfume blogs, many links on my left hand column, you will learn more than you can even take on, I guarantee...

Lucy said...

Flora, thank you --
we are so fortunate to be living in an age of great perfume beauties available to anyone who really wants to know them -- either by trying in person or sharing or sampling. Getting involved in perfumes has sharpened my olfactory memories.