In the 1990s we lived in a tiny village named Wombat in south west New South Wales, and one night at a party at the community hall of a small neighbouring village named Murringo, I had a marvelous lesson in perfumery.
It was suddenly too smoky inside the hall and I wanted some fresh air so I went outside. It was Winter and very cold and the sky and the stars were crystal clear and beautiful, and as I was walking along in a field next to the hall, a woman caught up with me and introduced herself as the sister of a woman that I knew from the village.
As we ambled along, we chatted about all sorts of things. She was a true hippie with her whole heart open wide, loving life and free as a bird. I liked her straight away.
‘Wanna try something really amazing’? she asked.
‘Sure’… I gulped, ‘I think so’.
‘Smell this’, she said and handed me a small bottle.
‘What is it?’
‘Don’t ask, just sniff.’ she replied.
So I did.
It was rosemary oil.
Now I’ve never been hugely enamoured of the scent of rosemary. It’s OK, I like it with roast lamb, and it’s good with some pasta or a slow cooked casserole with lemon and garlic and chicken, but I never thought of it as a party perfume.
She looked at me and smiled.
‘No, I want you to REALLY smell it. It’s so rich and alive and complex. Really inhale and take it in and let your mind properly consider how extraordinarily beautiful this essence really is.’
OK. And I did. For that brief moment in the timeline of my life, I set aside everything else. I gave my full attention to smelling rosemary oil under the stars in the dark of Winter with a complete stranger, both of us shivering and blowing out steam in the deep cold.
The rosemary oil was incredible. It was filled with life force, character, strength of purpose, and meaning, and it packed a punch of medicinal rightness. I was struck by the potency of rosemary the teacher. Rosemary the stimulant, Rosemary the herb of remembrance, the Mediterranean sun child of emerald green darts and tiny purple flowers. Here was a perfume for the mind.
I grew so much from that chance meeting. It opened my mind and my nose to the truth.
I never again saw the wandering-hippie-elven-fairy woman, but I think of her often with gratitude and humility. She was a guiding light that shone upon my life path, pointing me in the right direction.
PS One of the very best green perfume blends I highly recommend for other bold ‘scenturions’ out there… is to blend 10 drops of rosemary oil with 20 drops of high quality patchouli, 10 drops of juniper and 10 drops of cypress. Heaven on a stick!!! x