I’ve been promising you lilacs. Unfortunately it’s taken so long that the lilacs have gone. But now it’s honeysuckle. June is a cool wet month where I live. The air becomes a fluid medium, a potent mix of fragrance, air, and water. It is very still, clouds hanging like unwashed sheep’s wool over the sides of the mountains, the movements in the air subtle and layered. Among the layers the bees and the hummingbirds are busy. There’s a feeling of everything opening as hard as it can, the earth reaching out to the sun and the rain.
It brings a sense of releasing into the heart of something, and in doing so to become part of life itself, reaching out, as it always has, innocent, courageous, and indomitable.
Maybe it’s not really our nose doing all this – it’s something connected to our nose, some sense for which our nose in only a portal. People have written of the ‘odour of sanctity’, the fragrance of sweet almond flowers that surrounded the body of Saint Francis after his death.
Other things will take us there. For me it’s the smell of a baby’s head. If it’s a tidy baby you’re smelling baby powder, clean baby clothes, but under it the sweetness of the baby itself, the smell of innocence and hope. For some people it’s the smell of a horse, wild, musky, a doorway to union with something wild and strong and perfect that you almost remember, never quite forgot. Or the smell of sex, calling you deeper and deeper in, into union that you know may not last, may not even be achievable, but calling in voice you can’t deny.
The only possible response is surrender to all of it, the crazy courage, terrifying innocence, wild half-remembered freedom, to find the centre where fragrance and light and water are all one thing. It’s the Six of Cups.a