Memories of Christmas Scents: ADVENTure Ahead
Roxana Villa is having a round-robin bold-o-rama celebrating the season. This is my contribution.
Growing up in New England the scents of the season are quite different that the ones I now experience in Southern California. First, there was the scent of snow. You might think that snow doesn't have scent, but you would be wrong: the air before a really ripping snowstorm has a particular scent to it. Pregnant with electricity and ripping cold, it says "take cover" more effectively than an air-raid siren. Curiously, the air seems warmer as the actual snow comes, as if the formation of the crystals heat the air. Then there's the smell when the storm is over and the air is scrubbed clean; the smell of people's hearths drifting lazily through the crisp air and the blinding whiteness. While this post isn't about perfume necessarily, Frederic Malle's L'Eau d'Hiver does come close to capturing this.
In New York when I lived there it was the scent of wool coats, the expensive perfumes of the lady shoppers, roasting chestnuts and the coffee seemingly everyone carried for warming sips. I did have the singular experience of a real nor-easter, one of the ones that shut down the city. Getting home to the East Village was something: NOTHING was running, cabs long had gone home to roost, the snow was coming in sheets vertically and there was actual thunder and lightning. I was never so happy to see my crummy 10th street hovel as I was that night. Walking to work down the middle of a traffic-free Broadway (because although the city was paralyzed, Dean & Deluca was damned well going to be open) was an experience. One that I don't need to repeat.
Now in Los Angeles the holidays are more about friends and perhaps the scent of food. We don't obviously have snow; we start to feel chilled to the bone when the temps drop into the low 50's, but you're just as apt to have Santa Anas and be in the 90's. I still can't quite get used to the idea of Santa ho-ho-hoing over the intersection of Wilshire and Beverly when it's that hot. For many years I have spent the holidays with my friends making a communal holiday meal involving all hands, food, drink and a lot of laughter; the scent of baking and bonfires, cocktails and conviviality. I love these times and know enough about life to cherish them. There are no guarantees that there will be another..
As we all move forward on our journey through life our memories are reminders of what made us what we are. They can be happy or painful and can sometimes be a trap. Scents are some of the strongest; please share yours with us and if I don't get a chance to write it I wish you all a safe, happy and peaceful holiday, whichever you celebrate (or don't).
Image source, аprilemillo.files.wordpress.com.