No, ‘Dark Spring’ isn’t about our Crazy World right now – at least, not a whole lot about it. It’s mostly about …….. well, it’s about taking this time to take some time, reflect… pay attention, perhaps a bit more than most of us are able to pay when all the world is tugging at us. My state is mandated Shelter in Place which, for me, is largely Tuesday since most of my work is done online and via phone… if my suppliers are still at work I can do my job. We’ll see.
But that’s not the point – what is the point is that whole ‘reflect/pay attention’ thing. Which is where Dark Spring comes in. Right now is peak time for hyacinth forcing, along with narcissus (daffodils) and other bulbs. My entire house is awash is emerging and blooming bulbs …and it’s only been recently that I’ve realized that I rarely smell them during the day – but around 6p, when the sun begins to set, I start to get these intriguing little wafts of near-fragrance .. and because things are a bit quieter right now I can take the time to isolate the notion of ephemeral scent. For me, bulbs – even paperwhites – are flickering scents; spend too long in the flower and it blows out my receptors (Diane Ackerman talks about that, re the ionine in violets, which short-circuit our sense of smell. I have the same problem with hyacinths, narcissus and other bulbs, which makes that elusive, twilight waft all the more precious. It is so elusive, this alchemical confab of smells: dirt/rain/a hint of dark brown sugar/ more dirt. Then.. poof! it’s gone. If I leave it alone, it’ll come back, when it’s ready. Try as I might, I cannot make it stay. And even when it does come back (and almost never in the daytime) I couldn’t tell you what the ‘perfume’ of it is. For me, bulbs do not give off the same sort of perfume that, say, my lilies do (and that is yet another bulb that really puts forth in the twilight)
Thinking bout this (because I have a lot more time to think right now – no use stressing about ‘what if’ because it’s out of my hands anyway)… I was wondering which perfumes best replicate hyacinth – turns out that none of the ones that actually ‘say’ hyacinth smell like hyacinth to me. Only Demeter’s Wet Garden comes close to replicating that dirt/rain/brown sugar/green smell
Google ‘hyacinth perfume’ and a host of others come up I’ve tried fully half of them (not saying which ones because I want to know your thoughts – okay, I’ll say one: Diorling, which lists hyacinth as a top note but I swear you could put a gun to my head and I couldn’t identify the hyacinth – I’m now wondering if it’s because I have no idea what I’m looking for??)… none of them come close to what it is I am smelling when I catch a whiff of real hyacinth – I wonder if it’s the flower, getting lost amongst other notes? Or is it me?
One thing I do know is that one of the very things that keeps me from crawling under the covers at noon these days is the thought that, come twilight, that scent will waft again.
Have any of you had this experience? Is it just bulbs? Or is it just me?