Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Ramble - Fragrance

When I stepped out onto the deck after an early morning downpour this week, there it was and no mistake: a rose in bloom, kissed by rain and dishing out frothy ambrosial fragrance with abandon.

As I headed out the door into the garden in rubber clogs, camera around my neck and tea in hand, I was turning a skein of words over and over in my mind:  serendipity, lunar, zephyr, solstice. I would research and ponder and write about one of them here this morning, and I was looking forward to the exercise.  Selecting a word and following it all the way back to its roots is a lark and such fun to do.  Litha (or Midsummer) is still several days away, so whatever my chosen word turned out to be, it was probably not going to be solstice, at least not this week.

In light of our blooming roses and their old world perfume, fragrance is the only word that will do this time around.  It hails from early fifteenth century Europe, springing from late Middle English, thence Old French and the Latin frāgrāns, frāgrāre meaning "to give off an odor" or "to smell sweet". At the root of it all is the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) bhrag meaning simply "to smell". Roget's Thesaurus gives us a whole bag of synonyms for this week's word including: aroma, redolence, perfume, elixir, bouquet, incense, musk, attar, balm, civet, potpourri, nosegay, scent, sachet, cologne. Potion is not one of the synonyms on offer, but I think it should be.
Rain or no rain, our June garden is enough to fill an ancient rose loving Celt, Roman, Persian or Egyptian with delight and unbridled envy. Finding adjectives for such opulence is difficult, and for a few minutes yesterday, I was completely lost for words.
The rose here this morning is David Austin's exquisite "Heritage", and the master himself describes its perfume as classically beautiful with overtones of fruit, honey and carnation on a myrrh background.   Next up are the antique Maiden's Blush, David Austin's Abraham Darby, Evelyn, Gertrude Jekyll and the gorgeous once-blooming Constance Spry. Hallelujah, summer is here, and  little rain in early morning doesn't matter a bit.

It is a tradition to plant a new rose around the time of the summer solstice, and this year, not one but two magnificent gallicas will be coming home: Charles de Mills and Belle Isis. I can hardly wait to hang out with them when they have settled in.

5 comments:

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Beautiful
I love roses
but they do not grow well
by my damp and shady woods...

Guy said...

Hi Cate

What a lovely photo, we are enjoying the more understated beauty of the wild roses here at the cabin so it was nice to see such a robust flower.

All the best
Guy

sarah said...

So beautiful. The photo and the thoughts. :-)

Rowan said...

This is beautiful, I love roses but so far mine are only in bud apart from Rosa rugosa. It's been wet and cold this early summer and the roses are flowering later than usual.

Alexa said...

Exquisite rose and thoughts! There's a large drop of water on one petal that suggests a heart ... and that's what your blog exudes, Cate ... the generosity of a full heart is your work's sachet :-)

I've been visiting your blog for several years now, and see it as an oasis. Beauty is the primary presence and fact here ... Thinking of Tolstoy's words, "Beauty will save the world."

Your eye is pure; you follow the seasons and their minutae so faithfully ... and today I have the thought that your sensibility is very akin to (poet) Mary Oliver's ...

Thank you so much for the sanctuary you've created here, and for countless moments given of peace and reminders of that beauty which saves the world.

In gratitude,

Alexa