Perfumed Letters

Reading the scent trail of fragrance and words

People take pictures of the summer….


PEI 2014

Sunset on Hillsborough Bay (Northumberland Strait) @Cheryl Krueger

“People take pictures of the summer

Just in case someone thought they had missed it

And to prove that it really existed.”

The Kinks

I suppose it is sacrilege to drain the wit from these words, but that I do. I’m earnestly devoted to the preservation of summer’s sensations.

August 31: The first day I wrote a blog entry (four years ago), and the last day of summer (emotionally, psychologically, logistically speaking).

The good thing about traveling is that summer starts over and over again. One day  you are in Paris under fragrant linden trees, or wandering through rose gardens. A week later, gardenia and magnolia season has already begun in the Mid-Atlantic, while lilacs  bloom on Prince Edward Island. The Florida coast lulls you into believing those northern leaves will never fall.

But today, back at home, the cicadas sing their desperately beautiful end-of-summer song.

To prove that it really existed, I have volumes of summer photos. Maybe in a month or two I will conjure up the season by simultaneously viewing photos and  inhaling fragrances from my hot-weather stash. Like Des Esseintes, the decadent perfume-huffer of Huysmans’ Against Nature who sought synesthetic cures on “rainy autumnal days when melancholy oppressed, when a hatred of his home, the muddy yellow skies, the macadam clouds assailed him,” I’ll take refuge in pictures and perfume, and poetry. Among Des Esseintes’ more charming eccentricities: a copy of Baudelaire’s prose poem “Any Where Out of the World—N‘importe où, hors du monde,” framed in a tripartite church canon, centerpiece to his sumptuously decorated mantle; and structuring fragrance compositions analogous to the rhythms of Baudelaire’s verse poems,’The Irreparable” and “The Balcony.”

Since I’m more nostalgic than decadent,  I imagine that soon after the impending equinox, I’ll be scrolling through pictures and revisiting  canicular “bouquets”:  Eau blanche, Nuits étoilées, Aqua Sextius. Just to prove that summer really existed.

Sunrise 2014

Sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean (Florida) @Cheryl Krueger


7 thoughts on “People take pictures of the summer….

  1. Hmmm. This was posted on August 31. I guess WordPress and I live in different time zones.

  2. I had to look up ‘canicular’! I love learning new words. Nothing to do with cannulas, it seems, but rather refers to lovely weather, the like of which we don’t typically have here, which is perhaps why I have managed all this while without knowing it. Summer is a weird one in Europe – in recent years there have been odd little heatwaves as early as March – I experienced one in Bavaria this March, for example – followed by sporadic outbursts of warmth in May – July, before August puts its traditional dampener on things. Today is a beautiful Indian summer’s day, so it is all very hard to call. I usually reckon on October to February as being the cold, dark days, as opposed to the dog days.

    • I learned the word “canicular” the hard way (and late in life). I spent the summer in Lyon during a deadly heatwave (une canicule). It was so bad that bottled water was handed out on the streets (after the first few deaths).. I really, really like hot weather, but I was living in a top-floor oven with a terra cotta roof, no fans in the apt., (and all stores were sold out) , cross-ventilation-none.. And I had a good little walk to work each day. My clothes were drenched, always.

      Come to think of it, all the refreshing hot-weather fragrances I mention were purchased in France–though not that summer.

  3. What a gorgeous post, C. x

  4. Loved the pictures – thank you for sharing.
    I don’t think I have a single picture of summer this year… But I’ll rectify it soon by taking a lot of pictures at the place of an almost infinite summer – Hawaii.

    Congratulation on your (low-key) blog anniversary!

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