-After an Afternoon- Jason Mraz
I bare my windowed self untamed and untrained
Dreams that hardly touch our complexions truest faults
If room enough for both my drowsy spirit shall fall
Bold waves tumble to the season of my heart
Where you have offended my faith and my trust
Until all is lost into the beauty of the day
But there's something in the way you laugh
That makes me feel like a child
Aspects of life they confuse me
You and your thesis amuse me
After and afternoon with you
And your rich brown eyes
Your lips and dark hair
Elbows and exposed knees tossing toward the ceiling
After an afternoon
Face to palm
Tear to tear
Mouth to tongue
Heart to ground
Alright, so this is one of my absolute favorite Jason songs. And I thought I'd share it with you guys. But what I really wrote for was to share this...I own a book called 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names. Anyhoo, I looked through it and found lavender, which I thought holds some signifigance with the CC. So here's what it says.
Botanical Name: Lavandula. Family: Labiatae
Washing (to the extent that all but certain small boys practice it nowadays) is fairly new in the West. But the name of lavender is not new; it comes from the Latin lavare (to wash). Lavender was used from ancient times to make perfumes and to scent such soaps as there were.
The Romans washed and took frequent baths in public bathhouses, but after the fall of the Roman Empire, the bathwater was tossed away with the rest of that civilization. Even royalty seldom washed; they used perfume liberally instead. Elizabeth I took a bath occasionally, but James I/VI never even washed his hands, which he "rubb'd" with the wet edge of a napkin. Water in sixteenth-century England was often contaminated with sewage and washing in it probably would not have been very healthy anyway. One of the lures of colonists to the New World was that the water was so pure it could even be drunk and "those that drinks it be as healthful, fresh, and lustie, as they what drink beere" (Captain John Smith). Even so, somehow out of all this filth and pollution flowered some of the most beautiful literature that has ever been.
Soap, when available, was very expensive. In 1562, four pounds of gray soap cost twice as much as a whole pig (which was sixpence) and six times as much as a dozen eggs, but almost anyone could grow lavender, and it was so common that in 1568 the botanist William Turner said it "were but lost labor" to describe it. It was one of the cheaper perfumes, which were an important part of hygiene. Lady Macbeth, when agonizing over that bad "little hand" of hers, does not talk of soap and water but of "all the perfumes in Arabia." But of course she could have afforded something better than lavender water.
Real perfumes were, as they are now, pretty expensive. Workmen handling frankincense in Alexandria were "sowed up and sealed" into their breeches so they could not conceal it in body crevices. Lavender water was easy to make, but pure oil of lavender was a luxury. It takes two thousand pounds of blossoms to make ten pounds of distilled lavender essence.
By the nineteenth century, soap and water had come into fashion and the use of perfumes was suspect. Henry Phillips, writing in the 1820s, called the use of perfumes in men an "effeminate practice" brought to Rome from Greece and said, "we would recommend the old practice of laying clean linen in lavender, in preference to throwing the extract of it on dirty clothes."
Although introduced to Britain early, lavender is probably native to the Mediterranean (some say it may originally have come from India). It likes chalky dry soil and bright sunshine, and although it can die back and grow up again from the roots in spring, it doesn't stand extreme cold.
It is good to grow lavender. The old writers said that it would "comforte the brayne very well" and that you can "imbibe good humour" from it. The herbalist John Gerard warned against its overuse by "unlearned Physitians and...foolish women" but said that it would "helpe the panting and passion of the heart." Whether this is true or not, a bed of lavender, or a handful of it in a drawer, is a comfort to the nose, the brain, and the heart. It's nearly as good as a hot shower.
You guys- start the countdown- NINE days til I'm back in town. Woohoohoo!
Also, I'm very much enjoying the Bedwyn series.