Thursday, February 9, 2012
still-sound 39. Orange Blossom & Snow
The orange tree right outside my front door has blossomed. The scent is incredible and inimitable. I've discovered many perfumes that adequately resemble orange blossom (particularly L'eau de Neroli by Diptyque, Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford, Zagara by Santa Maria Novella and Fleur de Citronnier by Serge Lutens) but nothing from a bottle truly captures the magnificence of the tree itself. I took pictures of the small white flowers a few nights ago when the air was particularly thick with fragrance. They look like snow.
Recently on my morning walks with Rosie we stumble upon pockets of perfumed air. Sometimes I look around and can't even find the tree or plant creating the smell. At night many of the scents concentrate in aromatic intensity. I didn't expect Los Angeles to smell strongly of jasmine before I moved here. But it does. One of the city's many surprises.
While I delight in the essences of a premature spring, Europe is ominously frozen. I saw pictures of vaporettos navigating through chunks of ice floating in the Venice canals. As far as I understand, the jetstream, the current of warm water that keeps Europe temperate has been rerouted further south subjecting the continent to arctic air. The melting ice caps have caused this detour. Southern Europe freezes deeply every winter now.
The episode of At Home With Venetia in Kyoto I just watched focuses on snow. Venetia strolls through the still, snowcovered morning landscape and comes across a group of people making a bonfire. They burn bamboo and trees in the beginning of the year to pay tribute to nature. They take the cinders and burnt branches as talismans to ward off evil spirits and protect their homes from fire. I wonder if this is a Shinto tradition? I deeply admire them for respecting the spirit of Nature even if modern Japan as a nation, like all other industrialized nations harnass and aggressively overuse natural resources as if they were simply there for the taking.
Venetia took an incinerated twig and said "If I lived in the city I wouldn't be able to do this" and then came out with a long, loud "uuuuuuuuuuuugh!" This was one of the funniest things I've ever heard.