“Nothing brings to life again a forgotten memory like fragrance.” -Christopher Poindexter
Our seasons are filled with spiced scents which trigger our most cherished memories, encourage our taste-buds to come alive with expectant anticipation, fill our nostrils with aromas travelling to the far reaches of our minds, evoking longing, joy and wonder. Every culture owns it special unique blend which identifies both region and country once plucked from the earth by weathered hands and methods passed down for generations, kept secret, stored in ancient jars and pouches of cotton, linen and silk. Seasonal spices decorate our food, homes, celebrations. Seasonal spices bring to life us, you and me.
Spring renews the first herbs and spices. Peaking out through the ground still cold and at times snow covered, come the first fresh green shoots announcing winter is behind us. Chives, parsley, oregano, turmeric and mint harken the spring sun to shine down deeper and warmer. Saffron purchased from the grocery store turns the Easter bread yellow and bright just as the hands while plucking the stamens from crocus flowers growing in fields sparse and precious. Saffron, one of the worlds most costly spices as it is also used in fragrance, dyes and medicine.
Summer announces heat and intense light radiating upon us for most of day and part of our night. Filled with energy, vim and vigor our vitamin D levels soar filling our bodies and minds with the serotonin so deprived by our winter sun. Spices that cool our bodies are searched for and consumed refreshing our souls drenched in the sweat of summer. Mint, fennel seeds, cilantro, coriander and dill are just a few cooling spices poured in drinks and lathered in foods upon the barbeque. The summer winds carry the spicy scents away drifting like clouds upon the sky reaching our noses, tempting our tastebuds.
Fall, is it here already! But wait, the aroma of pumpkin pie beckons. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, oranges, sage, thyme. Oh my, the list is long and varied. The scents call people and families together around the table of harvest and plenty. Spices meld with laughter and the first hint of a fading summer sun keeping low in the sky, hiding quickly in the darkness of the encroaching night sky. Yards are plucked clean, grasses and leaves raked into piles of childhood delight. Skies filled with the colors of fall, crisp and clean. And at the end of the day, once again the pumpkin pie whispers, come savor the allspice hidden within, covered in cream.
Winter announces the Christmas Season, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and other special days filled with hustle and bustle, cooking and gathering. Flora and fauna sparse as the barren trees decorated with lights of every color and size. Dark skies filled with stars fill most all waking hours blanketed in snow. The body and spirit cry for the sun. Bundled from a day of sledding and skiing, children and child like adults call out for hot chocolate, spiced cider, mulled cider, cinnamon cakes, cranberry soda, and love. Pine and wintergreen scented fir trees fill the air of Christmas celebrated homes permeating the presents wrapped under the tree and toys scattered to and fro, people and pets jump and dance, growl and ouch.
Gratitude for the blessings the seasonal spices bring to our hearts, homes and spirits is a personal experience but, variations of the spices are common to people around the globe. To all the people and families displaced by war, environmental disaster, or barriers of any kind, may you be reconnected with the seasonal spices that define your culture, bring love to your new homes, joy and peace to your hearts. To everyone blessed with the Freedom to celebrate the seasons, may your spices be shared with love and gratitude. Breathe in and savor the spices of our lives.
“Bees do have a smell you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers”. – Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine