They say that music soothes the savage beast. Well…I beg to differ. I think it is scent! Fragrance. Our nose! I mean, of course music helps, but I think scent does a way better job at it than music.
I am sitting here listening to Luther Vandross croon away, but what has really gotten my attention and beginning to help me unwind and not go completely crazy as I hear my young ones beginning another argument in the background, is…a scent. I sit here and I am trying to identify the sharp, somewhat woodsy fragrance that my nose has sniffed out. I can make the out the cool, calming aroma of Lavandin. The heady fragrance of Ylang Ylang transporting me to Carambola and then reminding me of a walk where I smelled this sultry fragrance on the wind. That memory experience coupled with the soothe, sweet voice of Donnell Jones is quickly making me forget the fact that I have to quiet another argument between a seven year old and a ten year old. They will work it out. It was a discussion over a television show that is quickly forgotten.
My mind drifts back to the fragrance that I am struggling to identify, and as the R&B plays in the background, another memory experience overcomes my senses and I am transported back to a rough and winding road in the Rain Forest. The trees are so green, it is late afternoon and the cool breeze is gently caressing my face. I look to my right and I am enjoying a quiet excursion with my late husband. He is showing me bird pepper and is quickly telling me in Spanish to stop the car so he can go and pick some!
“Mai! I going to make a pepper sauce with this!” He says his eyes bright with discovery and already tasting the heat the pepper is promising him. “Why you like to go and damage yourself like that for?” I question, because I know he is just going to be crying when he tastes the pepper and it does just that, burn his mouth so badly that he swears NEVER “NUNCA” to eat the pepper sauce again! Of course that lasts all of five minutes and he is back at the bottle again! Wonderful memories that fragrance has forever trapped in the deepest recesses of my mind. All it will take is just a slight whiff of a certain fragrance and all the memories come flooding back.
Good times. Another aroma has just crossed my path. And now there is a new scent I am trying to identify. One was definitely a floral fragrance of some sort. This one smells like a mix of fruit and green. Another flash of memory. I am nine and running in the yard playing with my younger sisters. The gooseberry tree is calling to us and we clamor and race to be the first ones to the top of that very shaky tree! It is amazing the risks you take as a child. Thinking back now I wonder how I never fell from the top of that tree! At least 12 feet high and the higher you went the thinner and more fragile the tree was. But that didn’t stop me nor my sisters from racing, climbing, scraping our knees as we raced to the top to eat the ripe gooseberries. The most sour…tart…DELICIOUS fruit you have ever tasted. We are already arguing who is going to make the gooseberry stew. “Me!” I yell, “No, I going to make it!” yells my younger sister. And my other sister says “I have ALL the big ones so I will make it!” That wonderful fragrance of tree sap and gooseberry juice. Memories of a time when life was truly good and you had not one care in the world.
Sitting here listening to the music helps to calm the body and begin to put me in a relaxing state, but it is the fragrance that transports my mind to another time. Vetiver! That is what I am smelling. And immediately another fragrance memory comes to the forefront. Again, to a more personal, private time with my husband. Remembering his face, his voice, his strength. His love was what so amazed me. And now it is what helps to give me strength to carry on while he watches from the heavens. The Haitian Vetiver is such a seductive, alluring, almost mystical scent. Peaceful. Strong. Beautiful. Full of life, promise…love. The fragrance memories move closer to the present as the pain of loosing him emerges. Reminding me of the dark time, but there was still the presence of him there…although never to be touched again by him…there all the same. The Haitian Vetiver always reminds me that though we are strong creatures meant to do many unbelievable things…we are also very fragile and we must remember to always hold close and treasure the moments that bring us joy.
Ylang Ylang. That exotic fragrance always reminds me of adventure. Of a promise of something just around the corner. It reminds me of life! Of love! Of my children, who are my strength. Of the promise of new love…which I have now. Lavender. Calming. Relaxing. The smells of Mango always brings back the memories of youth, of adventure, of mystery and daring. Each fragrance forever locked in its own special place deep within me. Sometimes…when I least expect it…a scent will just transport me to a time gone by and I can see all that was and what will be. The music helps, I will give it that. But for me…it is scent that soothes the savage beast.