Estate’. And when you sleep beneath a snowy cover
I’ll keep you in my heart, just like a lover
And wait until you come again to me, Estate’
Summer. I don’t think about it in Summer. Maybe I just live it??. I think about Summer in the dead of Winter, holding it in my heart, just like a lover (that’s such a hokey line that it’s pure perfection)… Estate’, in the original Italian (Bruno Martino/Bruno Brighetti), is a lament . Squoo that. If I want to be miserable in Winter I can just look out the window. And in Summer I don’t have time to lament – I’m busy – and happily so – in the garden.
But it’s Winter, so I listen (for the umpteenth time) to Shirley Horn’s rendition, with Joel Siegel’s rewritten English lyrics. It’s a paean to Summer, a slow, languid love song to the season. She (and I) will long for Summer, in the midst of brutal, vicious Winter.
I think this makes perfect sense. On the hottest Summer days, even as I’m lounging beneath an umbrella, watching hummingbirds and drinking lemonade, there’s often a minute’s thought to Winter – maybe because it’s so completely the opposite? After all, Robert Wells and The Velvet Fog himself, Mel Torme’, wrote ‘The Christmas Song’ on a sweltering July day, supposedly so blistering hot that they wrote the song to cool themselves down.
I’m wondering: is it possible we need that difference in order to appreciate what we love most? Joni said ‘don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’… could it be thus with the seasons, that we cannot truly think about the season we’re in while we’re in it? I know that thinking of Autumn in Autumn makes me melancholy and I cannot think about Winter in Winter because I will cut my own throat. I live more completely in Summer, it seems but even then I can take it a bit for granted, even as I revel in it (I might be lying here – but go with it). So maybe I need the darkness of Winter….so as I sit here, looking out on a frozen, white world…. I can think of, and long for, Summer.
And that brings us to perfume. Except for the heavy hitters like Tribute and Carnal Flower (which I only wear on triple-digit days because FABULOUS!) I tend not to even wear perfume in Summer, at least not in the garden (where I spend 90% of my time). Truly, what perfume could compete with the first flush of rosa ‘Margaret Merrill’ or an evening awash in the narcotic beauty of full-throated Oriental Lilies. Why would you even want to compete? So I wear them now, as I dream of Summer. I’ve been doing it for years but only recently did I actually notice myself doing it. Lightly citrus scents like Hermes Pamplemousse Rose, a perfect, ripe pink sugared grapefruit, Amouage Gold, a blue and white kite high in the sky, lemony/pithy Arpege (contemp layered over vintage) which, along with the luxe of the dusting powder across the shoulders, is a pleasure boat on an azure sea. Lubin Gin Fizz is a refreshing cocktail sipped aboard that same pleasure boat, ice cubes tinkling in crystal, laughter floating on the sea air. Cartier Baiser Vole’ Lys Rose… those gorgeous Oriental Lilies, stems, leaves and all, wafting their scent in a rising wave… these all say Estate’ in the dead of Winter.
Maybe it’s the same thing as that citrus jones I get around this time, scarfing down those little mandarines like they’re going out of style (which they do, come April). Maybe sparkling, soft citrus is my ‘comfort’ in the dead of Winter. No woods, no ambers or resins…. not even leather – those are for Autumn. A whole lotta sparkly, soft rindy things… heck, maybe I’m just completely bonkers. But it works for me. Keeps me sane. What works for you? What do you wear to get through Winter? Is there anyone out there who LIKES Winter (we’re talking a Midwestern/Plains Winter, where -10F and a foot of snow is… Tuesday)? I know you exist….. like unicorns do ;-). Tell me how you feel about it. I just came back in from a -4F walk around the park with Miss Crazy (the walk was her idea) and I’m still waiting for the feeling to come back to my fingers and toes.
February is finally here – it’s both my least and most favorite Winter month because, short of the Zombie Apocalypse, nothing Feb throws at me can last for very long. It’s not the Bataan Death March, it’s just February – I can do 28 days of sub-zero irritation, sorting seeds, eating mandarins… dreaming of Estate‘, which is just that much closer.