Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Hidden Significance of Lavender

Growing up, I found that I always related lavender with Grandmas. The thing I never understood was why. Lavender. Pastels. Softness and lace and good skin. Quietly making cookies and drinking tea that's mostly milk and perhaps a dunk of two of a twice-used tea bag. These were not MY grandmas. Mine we bright and full of color, nosy - I discovered later - prone to overfeeding and underlistening to your protests about how, no, you didn't need a bath yet, it was only dog poop in the yard, even if you took a bath like they wanted you to, you would step on some right away when you went back outside, which is where they wanted you anyway, as long as you stayed in view of the house. Grandma Munca smelled like Catholic mass and crispy line-dried socks, weeds and earth and smiles. Grandma Carol smelled like new vaccuum cleaners and cabbage soup, and Thanksgiving and the lotion my grandpa always worked into her back before they went to bed in the winter. There wasn't room for lavender soap except to display in the guest bathroom on porcelain. They were baby blue and teal and 70s orange. So old and dry it would scent the air only a few millimeters away, and you'd inhale more dust from the outside of the packet than you would the raspy scent, but there it was. They each, hidden away in their unused drawers, secreted in the dresser holding the old board games at the cabin, or with their Sunday stockings, had a sachet of lavender.