Friday, December 24, 2010

We Three Kings - Myrrh - Parfumerie Generale Querelle

So. Myrrh. Gold is happy and glittery. Frankincense is spiritual and serene. Myrrh?

Death. At least, that's my take on the major symbolism. Death and suffering. And what kind of third post is that, the day before Christmas? I'm not clear on whether myrrh was intended to comfort the sufferers, or just symbolized the suffering, like a smell that served the same purpose as a shroud or black funeral clothes.

I've been talking about my childhood self in these posts, though I can't claim that that was a plan. (I can't claim that I had a plan.) I remember the first death that I grieved, that of the retired policeman, infinitely tall and reassuringly wide, that supervised the crosswalk that I used to get to kindergarten--no doubt with Mom watching all the while, but I remember it as a daily journey on my own, my first foray out into the world.

He would talk to me and, amazingly, he got me to talk back, four-year-old me who was all but mute even with my kindergarten teacher. He died that year, and Mom quotes something that I said when I was told, probably something about Heaven, and definitely a protest against the idea that he wasn't coming back.

I don't remember the quote.  I do clearly remember the first day crossing the street with his replacement, a much younger man, perhaps a new recruit instead of an old retiree. He was bright and cheerful and efficient, putting the best face on a job that he no doubt hoped would be extremely temporary. He wasn't the least bit interested in pausing to wait for a tiny person to choke out something to say; I remember trying to get a verbal feeler out, trying to transform him into a substitute for "my" policemen, and him bustling brightly away before I'd even gotten started. I realized that no one was like my policeman, and that my policeman was indeed not coming back.

So that was death. To steal from that poem, I did not approve. I still miss him. I sometimes wish that I could send a decades-late reminiscing sympathy note to his family. He continued to populate my mind for a long time; I thought that Santa Claus must surely be like him, and perhaps one of the Three Kings, too, was a good man near the end of a life of responsibility, not just worshiping a King but reaching out to a child.

Now I've gone and made myself cry and, y'know, Querelle is good for that. Maybe myrrh was for comfort after all. The descriptive material on LuckyScent refers to this as "sensual", to use one of the milder adjectives, and apparently the namesake film is... well, I'm just not going there at all, because I get none of that from this scent. Querelle is a medicinal perfume to me, clean and sharp, with that protective feel that I get from Fou d'Absinthe, even though there's very little similarity otherwise. It is a bit inhuman, but in a sorrowful way, not a dangerous one. Comforting, and very peaceful.

And there ends my Three Kings week, on a sad note, but it's good to remember an old friend. For more of Three Kings week, please have a look at these lovely blogs:
And thank you, Krista and JoanElaine, for inviting me! I've enjoyed this very much.

Review Roundup: Basenotes and Fragrantica and Perfume Posse and Perfume Posse again and Smellbound and Perfume Patter and Snobby & Grouchy.

Three Kings Image: Three Kings Icon ©2010 Megan Ruisch
Crosswalk Image: By Susan Lesch. Wikimedia Commons.

20 comments:

Carrie Meredith said...

This was a very touching post, thank you for sharing. Sometimes we need to do these sorts of things for ourselves, and if someone else can benefit, even better. The post I made about my late kitty turned out to be very therapeutic.

Josephine said...

I loved this post. Thank you for sharing something intimate about your life with us. Merry Christmas.

Vintage Lady said...

It is always so good to remember a good friend! I felt very moved by your post. My post, although in Spanish, sorry... has also some feelings about the missed moments I could for some time, not be able to share. MUCH LOVE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS SWEET!

JoanElaine said...

A beautiful post. It's interesting, the people we remember, that we hold on to. When I had heard my grade 1 teacher from elementary school had died, I was quite sad. I never saw her again after that school year as our family moved to another community, but thought about her often. She could pick wild birds up..she would just scoop them up and hold them for us to look at, but just for a quick moment. To me, that was magic! I'll never forget her.

I think I would like this fragrance. I am always on the look out for fragrances that have a bit of melancholy to them, fragrances I can wear when I need to withdraw, which is quite often...I better order a huge sample.

Thanks so much for joining We Three Kings and it is so lovely to "virtually meet" you!

Anonymous said...

That's a touching post and helped me recall people who touched my life for a while and then were gone too.

Thank you.

Anna in Edinburgh

EauMG said...

This is a beautiful post that really does "describe" myrrh.

olenska said...

A very beautiful post that struck a resonant emotional chord. Some scents make you think of the future, others the past. Myrrh seems to have a direct line to the well of memory-- it has the power to stir up nostalgia, but also to offer consolation. Thanks for this offering.

Vanessa said...

Oh, that "wrung my withers", as my mother used to say - your post was both poignant and endearing. Death is a big unexplained elephant in the room at the best of times, and especially so to a small child.

ChickenFreak said...

Thanks, Carrie. :) Your post about your cat was lovely.

ChickenFreak said...

Hey, Josephine. Thank you. :) And a belated Merry Christmas to you as well.

ChickenFreak said...

Greetings, Vintage Lady! I wish that I could read your post. :) And Merry Christmas! (Or, now, Happy New Year.)

ChickenFreak said...

Hello, JoanElaine! Your teacher sounds like a wonderful person to have known. And, yes, I think that this would be a good fragrance for those times alone.

ChickenFreak said...

Thanks, Anna. It's good to remember them sometimes.

ChickenFreak said...

Hello, EauMG. :) And thank you. I'd never really paid proper attention to Myrrh before

ChickenFreak said...

Olenska, thank you. :) I tend to rush to brighten up and lighten up the posts that start out emotional, but, well, that didn't seem right this time.

ChickenFreak said...

Vanessa! Thank you. (And I do like that phrase; I hadn't heard it before. :)) Yes, it's a hard concept to get one's mind around, at any age.

Suzanne said...

CF, when you write about childhood, I feel like you are writing about my own childhood too. I think you have a knack for magically tapping into the universal core of how a child perceives the world...your writing makes me remember those kinds of perceptions, if that makes any sense.

Sorry that I'm late, as usual, to reading and commenting on your posts, but you can definitely count me among your fans. Exquisitely moving writing, lady!

kjanicki said...

Thank you for sharing your memory and the comfort of Querelle. That was beautiful. And thanks for joining the project! Happy new year!

ChickenFreak said...

Thank you so much, Suzanne. :) I've often wished that I could write books for children (not that writing books for anyone is a goal that I've approached yet), so that's especially nice to hear.

ChickenFreak said...

Hey, KJ! Thank you, and thanks so much for inviting me.

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