Tag Archives: fragrance

The Three “R’s”


Not the ones we learned in grade school…

The world is filled with turmoil.  Sickness, discord, violence and tragedy fill the nightly news.  Just this week a gunman opened fire on a huge group of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing dozens and wounding hundreds more.  I am still trying to wrap my head around the depravity, sickness, hatred and evil that could cause a human being to inflict such violence on a crowd of innocent strangers.

I am not a political person and this is not a political post.  This is just a collection of my thoughts about how very tired I am…tired of the anger and violence that bombard us all with increasing, and alarming, frequency these days.  I need some R&R…& more R.

“R&R” is an old expression for “Rest & Relaxation”.  We ALL need those things from time to time, especially nowadays, in this world where we are constantly overloaded with noise, lights, motion and nonstop stimulation.  It is easy to become burnt-out, frazzled and fried, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Rest and relaxation sound wonderful, but they can be difficult to achieve.

For me, this is where the third “R” comes in…RETREAT.  In order to achieve rest and relaxation, sometimes we need to RETREAT from our normal surroundings, even if it is only for a few days, or hours.  Even 15 or 20 minutes to change our scenery during a hectic, stressful day can be a lifesaver.

I’ve always been a big believer in the benefits of aromatherapy and how pleasant scents can make us feel better.  The right fragrance can calm or energize us, improving our moods and bringing us back to center.  Candles, potpourri, incense and the comforting aromas of favorite foods cooking can all provide a sense of retreat from the stress of the world outside, facilitating the ability to rest and relax.

Recently I have been lighting candles again, a small indulgence I have always enjoyed but in recent years have neglected.  The mesmerizing glow of a candle’s flame, and the peaceful scent that lingers even after the candle is extinguished, change my environment…and thus, change me.  I can focus my eyes, my breathing, and my heart and mind, on that flame and that fragrance.  I can retreat to a place that relaxes me.  And I can rest.  And after that, I can go back out into my world and do what needs doing.  I can be who and what I need to be, both for myself and for the people around me.

It’s a small thing, really…but it is also huge.  Especially in a world that depletes, attacks and bombards us with so much sadness, noise and frenetic activity, we need to find ways to rest, relax..and retreat.


“Rest and self-care are so important.  When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”—Eleanor Brown


A Short Season


Savoring now and anticipating Heaven…

The rhythm of the seasons amazes and comforts me from year to year as colors, temperatures and scents change according to their predetermined timetables.  Springtime in my yard brings the tiny (and sorely neglected!) crocuses next to my driveway, followed by a stray daffodil or two.  As this process starts, my dogwood tree is sprouting tiny little crowns which eventually become the centers of the trademark cross-shaped blossoms the dogwood is known for.

The month of May brings the opening of the peonies, one of my favorite flowers in the world.  When we moved into our house, we inherited a long row of white double peonies that a previous owner had planted and cared for.  I haven’t done much to them in the years we have lived in our home—I need to divide them so they will thrive and not die out.


These flowers have a short blooming season, a time I anticipate with joy each year.  As lovely as the fluffy blossoms are to see, their fragrance is the most intoxicating thing about them.  I fell in love with that aroma from the first time it entered my nostrils and lodged itself in my memory.  It’s difficult to describe a scent, but the peony smells both sweet and earthy when it is in full bloom.  Once I saw someone on television offering a perfume with the word “Peony” in its name, and I thought, “How wonderful that this essence has been bottled!”  And I bought a bottle, only to find myself sorely disappointed.  It smelled nothing like peonies at all.  Some things just can’t be captured.

Now I realize that I just need to enjoy the beauty of the peonies and their heavenly fragrance during the brief time when they are in bloom.  I can photograph their visual beauty to enjoy during the remainder of the year when they are dormant.  As for that fragrance, I imagine that Heaven is filled with scents as lovely as the essence of the peonies…and in Heaven, that aroma is not limited by a Short Season.