Aromatic air

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

It is raining. I look out on the maple, where a few leaves have turned yellow, and listen to Punch, the parrot, talking to himself and to the rain ticking gently against the windows.

May Sarton
Journal of a Solitude

It was a white world yesterday. A dark green / brown smudge of a world today. And it might well have been a parrot quietly talking to himself as, already soaked, I marched up the hill, grateful for absence of ice.

‘Weather’ – actual and metaphorical – changes our perspective on everything, every day. Seasons and their reasons touch our lives anew. Warm sunlight quickly conjures one kind of wellbeing, wind and rain will freshen the air we’re breathing, ice and snow turn landscape into wonderland – at least for a while, and home’s warmth and hot chocolate raise a smile.

Twenty or more years ago I read one of the most beguiling openings to a novel. One that I’ve never forgotten since. It’s simple and descriptive – but more than that, there’s a deep noticing, deep awareness, and therein lies the promise of seasons, the perpetual invitation to breathe deep and to be fully ALIVE in each one:

The church bell, cracked and faint, struck seven as Anna opened her eyes. She closed them again, and waited for the second bell to chime, three minutes later. Then she got out of bed and pushed open the shutters of her window. High up in the air, swallows hawked lazily across the pale blue dome of the sky. A cool breeze, smelling of thyme and wood-smoke, flowed over her bare shoulders and she stretched her arms over her head and inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with the aromatic air.

From her high window, she looked down over the roofs of the village, across the vineyards and cherry orchards towards the grey-green rolling country of the garrigue, with the pale lavender, jagged outline of the Cévennes in the distance …

Elizabeth Falconer
The Golden Year

Yes. Raining this morning. But this afternoon, tomorrow, next Spring and Summer? Anna opened her eyes. She closed them again, and waited …

6 thoughts on “Aromatic air

    1. Isn’t it, Mimi? I don’t know whether you’ve seen the lovely film ‘A Good Year’ with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard? I think you’d love it …

      Anyway, the word ‘intoxicating’ keeps coming up in the film. And that word, together with ‘enchanting,’ is precisely what I feel about Elizabeth Falconer’s lovely evocations.

      Yes: The Golden Year. See also: The Love of Women; Frost at Midnight; Wings of the Morning; The Counter-tenor’s Daughter; A Barefoot Wedding; Tiger Fitzgerald – I loved every one. Paperbacks findable in second hand shops online … AbeBooks for example 😊🙏xxx

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re too kind dear Mimi. Maybe start with one? Delightful evocations of a largely pre-tech world which you and I will clearly recognise and sometimes yearn for. A world punctuated by delicious coffee, sunlight, fragrance, just-nipping-out-to-the-boulangerie, and onwards to the local markets for fresh fruits and vegetables and chicken. And lovable characters, turns of phrase, and romance, of course! Daydream books, now dated but no less lovely: “Giò … poured the wine and passed round the croûtons. They ate in silence for a moment, enjoying the fruity, ripe tomatoes in their pungent dressing.” Aaah. A warming scent upon the air. Enjoy, I hope … xxx

          Liked by 1 person

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