Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Circle: The Advent of Sense Memories

The number 22, like 11, significant in numerology and considered a "master" number due to the repeating double digits. According to Avia Venefica this numeral is represented by the tarot card the Priestess. On this auspicious day I bring you a very sweet friend with an enormous heart who I cherish and value tremendously, Davis Alexander.
The Advent of Sense Memories



float up our nose

buzz our brain

land safely in our hearts

on wings of air. 

An Air Sign, I find myself easily caught up by a wisp of scent.  I rise on redolent updrafts, suspended in time and place by the seasons’ smells.

A child, I got feverishly drunk on spring’s lily of the valley.

I languished in summer’s saddle soap  and suntan oil. 

Reawakened by fall opening a new box of crayons—
I was ultimately seduced with cinnamon and sage. 

And in winter, I rose,
refreshed by the cleansing absence of odor.

Winter was a white blanket that muted musky leaves. 
Winter was a freshness masking the perfume of rot.
Winter was breezes of blinding snow that snuffed out my sense of smell  . . .

Until . . .  days leading up to the holidays . . .  as though sneaking down the chimney . . .  entered the sharpest, most vital bouquet of all . . .

smoldering oak . . . Ivory soap steam baths . . .  clove spiked orange . . .  damp wool socks . . . foam of hot chocolate . . .  pocketed spruce needles . . .  oil drenched latkes . . .  moth ball blankets . . .  garlic studded roasts . . . aunt Helen’s Tabu . . .

It is said the Inuit language has, what, 47 names for snow? 
English falls short in so many ways, but none more so than in
giving words to smells.  To smelling.  To experience.

As much as the recordable sight of a returning robin or sound of a perennial bell-ringing Santa, it was a season’s scents that oriented me.  Yet, while I can relate what fills rooms, streets and yards, I fail at describing what lives in mind and soul.  Neither the attars of scent, nor the extracts of experience can be satisfied by words, for those temporal yet enduring imprints live on air—intangible, meta physical. 

Sense memories of the December holidays are familial.  They are personal.  Even private.  Mine are uninterrupted ruches of ribbon candy and endless layers of petit fours.  They are as sweet as simmered apple sauce and as tart as cold sour cream.  They are awakening and soporific, comforting and melancholy.   The balm of cedar . . .  my father’s Royall Lyme . . .  smoked white fish . . . menthol . . . mulled wine . . .  cigar . . .  my mother’s Bal a Versailles all mixed up together like a heady cocktail.  They can be named, but their effect on me will always remain indescribable.

Davis Alexander
story ~ structure ~ style
davisalexander530 at yahoo.com


chayaruchama said...

What a lovely post- so evocative !

We share so many common olfactive memories.
May you enjoy all the blessings of the season !

Flora said...

I love it! All these Advent posts bring back so many recollections for me.