Monday, 9 July 2018

Roses in July

June's blazing embodiment of Summer has hummed her way into July with her arms full of sunshine and scented petals.

When I can gather my summer-scattered wits and am not reeling from the heady mix of warmth and intoxicating perfumes I've been collecting and drying them to make confetti for a friend's wedding.

The roses in particular have been heart-heaven-healing as they fill our house with the smell that we call love, and I wondered - aside from the obvious fact that they smell so delicious - why do we associate roses with love?

Roses were sacred to Aphrodite and to Venus - both Goddesses of Love - but that doesn't really explain how they are still associated with it. We no longer look at Hares and see a sacred creature, or a predictor of outcomes, or even our grandmother... mostly, so ancient precedent is clearly not enough to explain the enduring association of the rose with love.

Which takes me back to the smell - I think it might really be as simple as that: We are an animal, a human animal, and scent affects us.

The cells in our nose that detect and enjoy smell are linked to one of the most ancient parts of our brain (evolutionarily speaking) - the limbic system. The olfactory bulb (smelling bit) sits close to the amygdala and the hippocampus - this part of the brain is the same one that governs emotions, memories and behaviour. Which of course also explains how it is that smells so often trigger memories.

For me any discussion of smell immediately reminds me of my grandfather - because he was a wonderful gardener, smelt of a heart-filling mix of 'garden' and my grandmother's cooking - mostly of the ingredients that he had grown - and it was in his garden that most of my early scent experiences were had. The various smells that make me happy were almost all found there.

Along with many flowers, the smell of beans makes me happy!

As do foxgloves, and of course roses! I hope today is 'coming up roses' for you.

If it isn't - you could do a lot worse than going to find a rose to rest your hooter in.

It might just fill your heart with love.

And that makes every day a better place!

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