Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Vital Link


Barraged with articles each week on the gradually worsening state of the planet, I can't help but think how ritual products like perfume and wine are living reminders of nature's vital role in our daily lives. No matter how mechanized our activities, the perfume anointed and the wine sipped are nature's subtle intrusions into the human calendar. Though in themselves works of artifice, and sometime art, perfume and wine traditionally are seen as improvements on nature but always on nature's terms, always delimited by the laws of Nature itself. The interests of many of my fellow perfume- and oenophile bloggers are tied up with natural processes, methods of extraction and sustainable agricultural practices; aesthetic concerns are ancillary. As growers of many stripes will oft remind us: it makes itself. The sun shines down, the vine flowers and fruits. The bud breaks, the moon waxes... and so on. The best in winemaking and perfumery is the enhancement (with integrity) of what Mother Earth herself does best. Let's start living in a way that shows we believe this. Recycle, clean up after yourself and do what you will.

Image credit: Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1500. Prado, Madrid.

6 Comments:

Blogger carmencanada said...

I often remind people of this when I comment on perfume : real, living things made with time, earth, water and sunshine surrendered their essence to come into this bottle... The feeling is especially strange when uncorking an old vintage (not my favourite: they're so risky and can die on you before the meal is done) or an old flacon; these things saw the same sun as, say, Picasso or Pasolini or Karen Blixen or just some girl on a sepia photograph, yet they still give something that's alive. Like those artists.
And, yes, I do my tiny share for whatever's left of this planet: recycling and not driving a car. And supporting the vignerons who don't bend to the rule of AOC and don't put wood in the barrel!

October 4, 2007 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Thanks for this amendment to my thoughts, D. The nexus where the artifice-bound thing and us come together is where Art is born, be it a bottle of Le Musigny or a decant of vintage perfume. The true "work" of art precedes us, in the labors of those attentive stewards of the earth, those who pruned the vines or harvested the blossoms. I wish the IFRA concerned itself less with potential allergens and more with establishing a set of regulations, akin to AOC, which "situate" perfume, which draw attention to its unique terroir.

October 4, 2007 at 7:02 PM  
Blogger helg said...

But are "aesthetic concerns ancillary"? Trully? I notice that so many people opt for something on purely sensual reasons that attach themselves to some obscure level of personal aesthetics...

I do believe that living things possess a life force though that is very romantic to contemplate of.
It's hard and complicated to set rules on sduch matters however: one is bound to displease one comittee or another ;-)

October 5, 2007 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

E., maybe my relegating the aesthetics to a secondary role was too extreme, but I needed to stress how important the natural product is in its unadulterated form, how it has been shaped already, even improved upon, by the long aeons of time.

October 5, 2007 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

What a beautiful entry.
Reminds me of some of the ideas and writings of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh regarding mindful awareness of our inter-being with the past, Nature, our culture, and how our thoughts and actions now will manifest over time...

October 6, 2007 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

L., We must be the first bloggers to use Thich Nhat Hanh's name in association with scent, but it makes a lot of sense. I believe that his community, Plum Village, near Bordeaux, is self-sustainably organic.

October 8, 2007 at 5:17 AM  

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