Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Autumnal Shift

I'm very much afraid that the coming of autumn is given over to the Greek calendars. For those unfamiliar with this expression it is used to mean that something is never going to happen at all, as Greek calendars never existed, in contrast to the Roman ones, which did.
And what is the reason for this ominous and pessimistic declaration? But the difficulty of rotating fragrances in a fragrance wardrobe according to season in this crazy global warming environment.

The transition from summer to autumn in terms of perfume choosing is not an easy one, especially given that nowadays this is mostly an issue of calendar advancement than actual weather change. The warmth and incadescence of autumnal perfumes lends itself to cooler temperatures, "seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness" to quote Keats. And alas it's tardy. And expected to be for quite a while still in our part of the world.

Personally autumn has always been my favourite time of the year. The rush of the beginning of the academic season managed to fill me with new hope even as a student, despite the fact that it meant the end of long summer vacation. It wasn't that it was the beginning of lessons, so much as the rejoining of old friends and the aftertaste of those languid summer days spent at the beach that left skin baked and memories of blissful indolent and idle existence aplenty to last for months. Autumn was and still is the beginning of the year for me.

However, as the indian summer persists well into November nowadays, my hankering for "mists and mellow fruitfuless" is left unsatisfied. My Mitsouko and Opium get anxious to make a grand appearence from their confines, only to be met with another hot dawn that promises to melt away at the edges of reason by noon. Other perfumes are even more shy: Angelique Encens, Fumerie Turque, Rykiel Woman, Boucheron femme, Rochas Femme, Ambra del Nepal, La Myrrhe, to name but a few. They all demand sturdy fabrics, angora or cashmere sweaters and black leather boots tightly encasing jambes d'une nature farouche. Les jambes, you see....they cannot be farouche (=ferocious) in the heat of summer. They mostly drag themselves along...

And so with the onerous duty ahead of me I must get down to sorting out my autumn collection without the actual capability of wearing those tantalising siren-singing scents that beckon me. Not yet, not yet...

And you, what are you longing to bring out of the mothballs? Give us pointers!

In the meantime I am leaving you with John Keats'(1795-1821) Ode to Autumn:

627. To Autumn

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies

Next reviewwill occupy itself with an amber that can actually lend itself nicely to still warm weather.

Poem courtesy of bartleby.com. Pic of grape-cutters originally uploaded by Parisbreakfast

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