Thursday, April 9, 2015

still-sound 213. Fragrances at the end of a day

I took this picture from the house in France.  I like how it shows the color of the light
outside just before it gets dark.

Today I added a song to my current Spotify playlist by a pianist named Mine Kawakami.  My favorite TV show, At Home With Venetia in Kyoto regularly features Kawakami's music.  Her music sounds a little Classical with a hint of new age, like George Winston playing Bach.  Bright, simple and relaxing. I'm surprised it took me so long to look Kawakami up on Spotify but when I finally did I was pleased to discover a lovely piece I hadn't already known.  It's called Fragrances at the end of a day.  The title appeals to me.  I've found that the scents of trees, lawns and flowers seem to saturate and amplify as the sun goes down.  The evening smells considerably different than day.  

The first time I noticed the evening-scent-effect was as a very young kid.  I must have been particularly young since most of the memory seems to be hazy, but I do remember the smell perfectly.  My father was a photographer and would take pictures for various local businesses for advertisements and catalogs.  One of his clients was a stained glass maker named Morgan Bockius.  One day my dad came home from the Bockius workshop with a brown paper bag full of colorful glass beads, droplets and ornaments.  At that point in my life this was the greatest surprise I had ever received.  

My sister started taking piano lessons with Claire, the wife of Morgan Bockius.  My family was once invited to visit their home and workshop.  We walked through their expansive back garden.  They may have even owned a horse, but I remember nothing about this visit until the sun had almost entirely retreated.  The lawn was mown but not raked.  All the greens of the trees and shrubs were dark and shadowy signalling night.  The air was thick with a perfume which I now know to be hay.  That luscious, coumarin,  almond-cherry scent of hay.  My young nose had never smelled anything like it before.  We went inside the house because the air was becoming chilly.  We sat around a kitchen table lit by a yellow incandescent lamp and ate Brazil nuts from a bowl.  I had never had Brazil nuts before and would not have them again for, maybe twenty years or so.  My family wasn't a Brazil nuts kind of family.  I wouldn't know that the smell that intoxicated me that night was coumarin / hay until well over thirty years after the Bockius visit. 

When I was sixteen I asked my dad if he could ask Morgan Bockius if he needed or wanted an apprentice.  It seemed like the coolest thing someone could possibly do.  How cool would it be if I could now say that I apprenticed a stained glass maker as a teenager?  But I didn't.  I didn't have my driver's license until after I graduated high school and I assumed my dad wouldn't want to drive me to an unpaid internship.