Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Questions About Life

When I unlocked the office this morning, the first thing I smelled was not air-conditioned air, nor the copy machine, but the enchanting, intoxicating aroma of daphne odora. From the tiny little bunch I have on my desk, three days old. I immediately become a nymph on a Grecian hillside, half hidden in the daphne, peeping shyly out at the sheep and shepherds, while I draw a deep breath, and my eyes roll back into my head.  Gorgeousness. 

Why can't all life be as intoxicating, as perfect and as meaningful as the scent of daphne?  Or just even other beautiful scents -- we'll leave out the philosophical questions about life, this time -- I don't have the mental fitness to be pondering those questions this Wednesday morning -- even other great smells, like roses (nice, but...) or fresh cut grass (evocative, but...) don't carry the smeller out of their body.  Don't have this emotional effect.  It can't really be because daphne is rarer, either, because there has never been one time that I smelled that smell that I didn't experience this.  This what-you-may-call-it.  This emotion.  And I lived for seven years in an apartment building with bushes of daphne beside the gate.  And every day it bloomed I plucked a bit and had it on my body, being warmed by my skin, so that the scent rose with my heartbeat.  And each time I would catch a whiff, I was exalted.

So is it something about the composition of the aroma?  That it tickles a tiny place in the brain?  A race-memory?  Of a time when I was a numph on a Grecian hillside, half-hidden in the daphne bushes, warmed by the sun and pouring their fragrance out over the country and making the people (and the sheep) drunk with giddy joy?

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