Monday, April 29, 2013

The Comfort of Perfume

The Boston attacks came close to home.  I worked in the Back Bay for many years - it was my daily turf.  The older perp's wife lives in my current town, and the final showdown occured one street over from my grandparent's house, who never would have understood today's world.  We are still in reeling.  Yet I wondered what daily rituals can give us comfort and peace as we carry out our business, as we know we must.

For me, self-care has always helped in times of sorrow:  long soaks, cozy pajamas, time with my knitting needles...and perfume.  Even if my heart isn't into it, as it really hasn't been, I couldn't help but notice the lovely new scent about me one afternoon. The name of the fragrance doesn't matter as much as the way it swarthed me in a delicate warmth as I tried to focus on my job. The watery tuberose sat on the edge of my consciousness as the deeper notes of musky jasmine floated about, reminiscent of a damp greenhouse in winter filled with hot house flowers and the promise of a fresh spring.

As part of my soothing ceremonials, I've been even more liberal with my perfumes, finally trying the generous samples sent to me by a New York boutique.  Those vials gave me a sense of the expectant hope I know will come full-on again soon.  I sprinkled an old favorite on my arms before bed the other night and woke to its fragile remnants - just enough to jumpstart a better mood as I rose for work.  A lily of the valley cologne perked me up on laundry day after I spritzed the linen closet - for just a second I was back in high school, a world far away from terrorist bombs and hate.  Later, when I reached for a clean towel, I went back again and this time the cheery timbre lingered longer.

Perfume's gift is that it takes us on a quick trip to yesterday where happy memories wait to sustain us.  But for real healing, perfume offers us blessed comfort and a prayer for better days ahead.

(Photo Credit: "Maiden in Contemplation," painted by Gaston La Touche)


  1. Lily of the valley is my favorite scent!

  2. I LOVE solid perfume, never thought of making it myself!

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