Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Winged Messenger of Devotion

A few scenes from our icy hike yesterday.

Of all the senses, scent it the most frequently associated with God. In fact, the power of scent was so sacred to God, that He commanded Moses to build an alter of fragrance and burn sweet incense before he prayed. From the smoldering resins of frankincense and myrrh often used in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox rituals, to the sabbath blessing of light and fragrance in Jewish homes, scent is the winged messenger carrying our devotions to God and bringing in return a whiff of heaven on earth.

In her book, Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor, author Sarah Ban Breathnach writes;

"The nuances of how scent works are mysterious and more subtle than those of our other senses. At the front of your brain, two olfactory bulbs dangle nerves down to the top of your nose, where they will receive aroma molecules triggering either a memory message to the brain or one of arousal. However, while the two aspects of the sense of smell - memory and desire - are past and future tense prompts, the soul of scent is only truly discovered when we delight in its myriad pleasures every day. Scent is at its heady best, like life in the present moment."

When you walk into your home what do immediately smell? Hopefully it's not your cat's litter box or the green cloud of fog that is now hovering around your overflowing laundry hamper. But hey, even if that's the case, you'll find only grace here! Scent is and always has been a very important part of my life. I've kept candles and warmers with scented wax melts in my home for years now, and just love walking in from outside and taking in all the lovely fragrances!

Back in the 80's when country decorating was all the rage, you couldn't step into one of those little boutiques without leaving with you and everything you purchased smelling like a cinnamon stick. As a young wife and mother I vowed then and there to make sure my house smelled exactly the same, and I've been pretty successful. I'm naturally drawn to spicy smells like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, just to name a few. And every year when Michael's comes out with their autumn scented candles, especially once they run that ridiculous sale of 4 for $10.00, I stock up. And while we're on the subject of cheap candles. For a long time I was growing really frustrated because very often the wick would end up melting into the wax and didn't burn the candle all the way down. So here's what I've discovered. If you clip the tip of the wick each time before you light it and keep it kind of short, you'll get a better more even burn. Also, don't put your candles where there may be a draft, like close to a vent, and you'll get more life out of them as well. But sadly, this may actually be my last year of buying cheap candles, as I've read numerous articles about them being toxic. Beeswax is expensive though, so I'm not really sure what route I'll be going.

But there are other scents that immediately take me back in time, just like we discussed in my previous post. One of them is pine sol, because I think my grandmother spray washed her entire house with it, and all I  have to do is open a bottle, or walk into a room where someone has been cleaning with it, and I'm immediately taken back. Another is freshly cut grass, which always takes me back to Texas and waking up on summer mornings to the sound of my dad mowing the lawn. And even though these scents are not associated with memories, some of my favorite scents are the smell of rain, the smell in the air just before it snows, and the smell of just about anything cooking, except maybe collards, which taste great, but smell nasty when you cook them! And that reminds me, I need to share my recipe, because it's the best!

So before I close, and because I did so with the other senses we've explored in this series, I've made up another quick printable. Just a little guide to get you thinking and help you explore your sense of smell and your favorite scents! You'll find the link to it below.

The Essence of Scent Worksheet

Next up, one of my favorites, the essence of taste!  And now I'm off, to make something that is equally as wonderful in both scent and taste and that is to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes for our dinner tonight!  What's on your menu?

Until then,

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