Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 15: Perfume

These humid days when I'm puttering in the herb garden plucking and trimming, aromas of the bruised leaves hang heavy in the air. Imagine the licorice fragrance of fennel mixed with the tang of lemon thyme. Or the sharp pungency of chives blended with the soothing tones of lavender. Or parsley, sage, and mown grass. The palette of potential perfumes is endless and ephemeral. Like these fleeting weeks of summer when I can spend a morning in my garden with the sun hot on my hair, breathing the scented air deeply and with great joy.

No better perfume
than these crushed leaves of thyme, mint,
rubbed on my warm throat.

Speaking of herbs and summer, when I was in Portland on Friday a friend recommended the new Mount Desert Island Ice Cream shop on Exchange Street. "You've got to get the blueberry basil sorbet," he said. Intrigued, I passed up other unusual ice cream flavors like lavender, salt caramel, and Jack Daniels and got the sorbet. If ever a flavor embodied summer, that was it. Think a mouth full of juicy berries with the fresh, green after-taste of basil. No wonder this is where President Obama went for his infamous ice cream cone when he and his family vacationed on Mount Desert Island last month. (According to a sign posted in this new offshoot of that original Bar Harbor shop, he ordered coconut.)

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