Monday, May 28

like a hand laid upon the heart

For fragrance is indeed what the past well knew it to be, a refreshment and a strength, a sweet and human pleasure, an exorciser of demons from the body and the besieged and troubled spirit. Subtlest of influences, touching the emotion directly, asking nothing from the mind, it not only wakes in us an emotion of place, but summons up as well a poignant emotion of ourselves as we were in time and the place remembered. The odor of a ploughed field in the spring is like a hand laid upon the heart, having in it all the beauty, the poignancy, and the tenderness of earthly living, all the poetry of the melancholy and ecstasy of spring, of the branch, the new leaf and the warm wind, and the sinking of some last great and solitary winter star.

-- Henry Beston Herbs and the Earth