Dead of Winter Antidote

– a review of Olympic Orchid’s ‘A Midsummer Day’s Dream’

Today was a day when it was as if spring would never come, as if summer were a bout of desperately wishful thinking. The landscape was everywhere sere and brown and dead, and the fog never lifted from the barren, sleeping trees that seemed to pull their cloak of cloud and mist a little closer, a little tighter and denser, as if to say…wake us when it’s over. We’re sleeping in.

The only sound I could hear was the black metal caw of the rooks headbanging on the lawn, taking flight in a flurry of funereal, ominous black metal notes when a girl in a pink parka ran to the bus stop, the only shock of vivid color among the patches of melted snow and ice, the dun of the trees and bushes, the green of the grass dulled to a faded Polaroid moment memory of green.

Spring will never come. Summer never happens. This barren, this damp, marrow-aching cold, this sere, this brown…is all you will ever know.

Those days of ease and warmth, that still and breathless, restless heat, that scent of green and growing things in a rage to bloom and blossom, that heady trail of elderflowers and philadelphus, the purr of the wood doves under the eaves of the beeches…it was a dream, one fervent, fevered wish to feel entirely alive, entirely there, entirely connected to all that grows and wants and desires…to laugh in winter’s despite.

Unless…summer can be invoked in other ways, by opening that tiny vial of ‘A Midsummer’s Day Dream’. All is quiet as I do, the house is asleep, even the cats are snoozing on their cushions above the radiator, noses to tail tips, twitching in their dreams.

I’m convinced there are genies in these little vials, different genies of times and places and spaces, not at all alike, that sleep and await their moment to rise up and creep out on their fragrant trails and invoke their place and time.

This is the quintessence of a temperate summer, the days that we live for, that heated solstice shocking kiss of life to live, the days that seem an eternity, an aeon away on a fog-cloaked January morning. This is the green that burns your retinas and wakes you all the way up, and up – or down, lying on the emerald grass watching the clouds dance a measured, lazy waltz across a blue, blue sky, and beneath you, crushed wildflowers, bruised grass, trees full of sap and full of leaves inhaling sunshine, exhaling joy – that this day, this moment, this grass that tickles your nose and snaps your synapses, these nameless flowers imprinting themselves on your skin – life is nothing but perfect and you are never less than perfectly content.

Such a perfume, you might think, has never been bottled, such genies never captured, such scents, such moments never happen…outside of books and poems and Shakespeare plays.

Yet I’m telling you that they have. In a tiny little vial called ‘A Midsummer Day’s Dream’.

The perfect dead-of-winter antidote. Breathe it in, all the way in, breathe in that grassy, floral, emerald green all the way out to your fingertips and feel it tickle your nose and your fancies, and you could believe, as I did, that a fog-cloaked, dismal day was surely a figment of your imagination.

Unlike that little vial of bottled sunshine that is very, very real.

I’m speechless. Hard to find the words when all I want to do is lie back against the wildflowers, write cloud stories in the sky, and whistle with a blade of grass between my lips…

“A Midsummer Day’s Dream” can be sampled or bought at Olympic Orchids. Spread the word. Doc Elly is a genius. Or a genie, I’m not sure which…;-)

Image: Frank Cadogan Cowper: Titania Sleeps (1928)

Thanks to Josephine for the inspiration – and to my followers who make me write!