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As I drifted around in a shopping mall years ago, I grabbed in my hands a small packet of what is called "pomander refill" and automatically held it to my nose to sniff, I don't know how it happened, but from the depth of my being which then seemed to be a good three million miles away from my body, came a desperate yearning for something I once lost and had been unknowingly searching for forever. If the perfume had started to walk, I would have followed it to the end of the world.

Even under threat I wouldn't have been able to admit any interest in perfume. I had none whatsoever. From that moment on, however, I felt like I had been socked in the solar plexus and started compulsively to search for that smell, as if my very life depended on it. As the refill I'd bought little by little lost its strength, greater was my despair. The shop where I had bought it had no more, and I felt as if part of myself had been torn away from me.

I searched for this fragrance constantly and opened every perfume bottle that crossed my path, to check it as a mad border guard would open suitcases in search of contraband. But, nothing...

So I tried to make the scent myself. I became a perfume book addict at the library. I notated recipes and formulas, got old manuscripts, bought as many different scents as I could afford and started my chemical experiments. All to no avail! I achieved quite a few nice scents but far removed from the depth, the power, the maddening sweetness the other scent had about it.

Time passed. The memory of the scent grew faint until I could no longer recall it. But the search continued in the back of my mind. Years later, when I came down to the Institute for the Development of the Harmonious Human Being for the first time to attend a workshop, as I entered the hall, there was the smell! That was the first impression I received from the Institute. And the smell struck again. The same yearning gushed out of my guts and I wished I could put my nose over the scent and breathe it in with each of the remaining inbreaths I was to be given in this lifetime.

-B


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