Spending almost a week at the highly fragrant countryside where I grew up was, as expected, thought provoking in a way that may make one question what they do for living. The fragrance in the air did not originate in the perfumes I was wearing – in fact, I hardly wore any fragrances in my visit there. When one is surrounded by myriads of species of wild flowers, herbs and shrubs in full bloom, wearing perfume will be missing the whole point: the abundance and variety of beauty that nature has to offer at this time of year.
Once again, my suspicion that I became a perfumer to compensate for the lack of fragrance in the city I have recently chosen to make my home, was given an extra boost. Do I need to choose between the two? Apparently yes. I need to choose between living in a highly fragrant, unpredictable and ever-changing scent environment; and between living in an odorless town in the other end of the world, and surround myself with artificially made perfumes extracted from flowers from all over the planet where I decide, for the most part, what I smell at any given point during the day or the year. One is the origin, the inspiration, a memory carved in my heart and etched upon my olfactory existence with powerful spells. The other is an asylum, an emotional lab and an art studio where I can create and fill in the gaps.
One environment is too powerful to create in. It would be just like carving a sculpture of your lover in the middle of making love. The other provides the space and perspective for putting my thoughts together communicating myself. The predictability and the control that is possible there is strangely peaceful and calm.
Photograph: Beautiful and odorless pomegranate flowers from my orchard in Clil.