Sunday, March 30, 2008

The final word (hopefully)

I awoke at 5:30 this morning with my wrist up against my nose. I had a scorching pain in my big toe, sending pulsations of sensation up my leg, which is probably what woke me. Never mind, I thought, as I intentionally deeply inhaled the now somewhat flowery lingering scent of last night's application of Passage D'enfer. In that moment, when the smell took me away from my pain, I realized exactly why this is the perfect scent right now and why I seem to reject every other fragrance as imperfect (and know, in time, that I'll come to reach for another, of course).

It is the smell of Maine in April. You've heard of April in Paris but you probably don't know that much, if anything, about April in Maine. I know we're not quite there yet, but we might as well be.

In April, we are all stir crazy. Cabin fever is the correct term but I never hear anyone use it. I hear that they feel that can't stand it any longer. I hear that person X's husband beat her up yet again. I see the declining stock of liquor at the General Store. I hear the complaints of those whom everyone complains to, and how every person seems to be having some sort of crisis. I hear that this year is oh so much worse than last year and musings about whether one can make it through yet another Maine winter. I heard that last year (and every year before that - sorry, folks).

Did I mention I feel it, too? I am certainly not immune. I despise this season in Maine.

It can be warm (if you call the upper reaches of 40 degrees warm). This year it is not. It hovers around the freezing point during the day, which seems to be a temperature that makes me feel like crap. It's damp. When the sun is out, which is infrequent, the snow starts to melt. It is not pretty. It was only fifteen degrees at 6:00am, which has been fairly typical and I am so done with Winter!

Some years we have more snow in April than during the entire winter. This happened last year and I do believe we're all holding our breath that it doesn't happen again. Last year we hadn't much snow by the time it happened. This year we've had nearly 200 inches of snow. The records have been broken and noone is jumping up and down about it. I suppose the skiers may be, but I don't know any one who's a skier, so I couldn't tell you.

So, Julie, please try to keep on topic (as if that's even remotely possible!)

Passage D'enfer is the perfect scent for this time of year. It's austere with a hint of softness. It's cold but not icey. It's dry but not powdery. I hadn't thought it would be comforting, but I certainly felt it was this morning. It wasn't the comfort of a warm cup of cocoa but the comfort of something old and reliable, perhaps akin to a well loved throw that one thinks should perhaps be retired, but hey, it can always be patched, right?

We who live in Maine bitch and moan and bitch, bitch and bitch some more come this time of year, but we are also somewhat proud of being able to live through it and come out relatively intact. Somehow that relates to my last sentence above, but I can't put this connection into words. Perhaps you, the reader, can see it, or sense or something. I'm tired.

Image: "Passage D'enfer, Paris" by Miho Hirawkawa

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