Fragrance (Blue)

Posted on: December 1, 2009

I am hoping that, just looking at this photo, you’ll be able to imagine what these flowers smelt like.  Yes, these hyacinths smelt beautiful, though I didn’t get the full benefit (I would have had to have been lying on the ground for that!  Indoor hyacinths are so much more accessible…)

Row upon row of them, half of them blue and the other half white, were exhaling their strong perfume in a garden enclosed by yew hedges.  Apparently this garden-within-a-garden is always entirely devoted to hyacinths in spring, with dahlias taking over in the autumn.

The regimental way these bulbs had been planted was the one disappointment.  To me, hyacinths have a fragrance that is heady and pungent, but also ‘young’ and fresh like a wild flower, so to plant them in such rigorous straight lines seemed to me to contradict their nature.

Fragrance gives us a way of changing our identity, without even having to change our appearance.  And it’s such a powerful thing.  Memories of smells embed themselves deep into our subconscious, hence the power of particular smells to stir up the past.

Scent doesn’t feature so much in men’s lives – at least in our British culture.  Though it could be more worthwhile for a man to wear aftershave, since women generally respond to smells even more intensely than men do!

I love wandering around the perfume department of any store, marvelling at the different names for perfume.  There’s the romantic ones, such as – obviously! – ‘Romance’ by Ralph Lauren, the slightly risqué ones, such as ‘Organza Indecence’ by Givenchy, and the poetic ones, such as ‘Light Blue’ by Dolce and Gabbana.  (This smelt just like I would expect, when I sampled the tester recently – cool and fresh!)

I love thinking up new names for scent.  What about a perfume called ‘Whatever!’?  I sometimes think women prone to stress would benefit from a body-spray of that name.  Perhaps made with extracts of the pheromones that male bodies release.  (Though just for their benefit, not for others’!) Especially in the run-up to Christmas.

I don’t think I realized what perfume was all about until I started writing this post!  I now think we do it to alter the mood of anyone who comes near us, and the atmosphere around us. 

The Bible says we are the fragrance of Christ.  The ‘spraying’ stage is when we spend time with him.  Learning what pleases him, and what shapes and orders our characters so they become more in harmony with him. 

It can sound a bit dangerously ‘New Agey’ to talk about mood-altering fragrances, but underneath the feelings of ‘I feel good around this person’, or ‘I love the ambience of this room’, there’s something very real.  (And Scripture warns that some people will hate our spiritual ‘scent’, because it will remind them they are dying inside.)  Someone once said she pictured a person’s spirit as extending a little bit beyond their body outline – I believe that accords with our experience.  Sometimes, you can feel the emotion dominating a person, even before they enter a room, while they are still just the other side of the door.

I’ve heard it said that perfumes react differently to different people’s bodies.  Something that smells good on me might not work so well on you.  Everyone is called to be the fragrance of Christ but the particular ‘scent’ you wear (subconsciously, most of the time) is unique to you.  As with everything, our detail-loving God delights to do things differently, each time.  When God makes a Christian, he breaks the mould.  Those crowded perfume counters don’t have anything on God!


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  • None
  • Carole: Beautiful!
  • Amy: Sounds like a beautiful color and dress. And I would love to see a picture of that tree! I do love trees of all kinds, and you make some great points
  • Amy: What a beautiful poem or song to God, love it! We're exciting to see spring here up in the northeast after a long, cold, snowy winter! Blessings, A


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