Let’s take a lazy Sunday afternoon stroll. We’ll direct ourselves towards the most beautiful part of Charleston – the Battery and rainbow hued line of homes nestled happily in the same area as historic old homes that soar majestically across the street from the warm waters of the ocean. The light is fading softly into twilight. The sky pinkens as lavender sends slender strands above our heads but we don’t see that. Our minds are floating along on the breeze that is pulling us to the sidewalks that front those glorious old homes, their whispers of stories long past teasing us as we walk by. A scent is calling to us, like a siren song, we cannot resist. It’s the scent of history, secret hideaways where trysts could occur at any given time, a heady perfume that taunts us. Its the scent of the south at its exotic best. The blooms of day have done their best, leaving their perfume behind to fill the air yet the shy blooms of the night are already beginning to reveal their beauty and a redolent fragrance that rivals the finest perfume houses of France.
Those pristine homes along the waterside slowly wink on with light within and suddenly we are offered a chance to bear witness to sweeping staircases that arch around the walls of great entryways where white-gloved hands once glided as well-dressed young women descended to parties or balls. History is whispering to us to stop, be still and listen to its story.
A gentle breeze lifts us, guides us, a casual brush of the bearding Spanish Moss that drifts from the trees we saw on earlier walks through old live oaks. Their ghost-like appearance gives us a chill yet a sense of relief as well from the heat of the day. Summer in the south can be hard on a body. Hot, humid, sticky, making your sofa or bed call to you like a lover to rest, cool off for just a little while.
That mindset, that lazy relaxed feeling is all my mind sees when I breathe in the glorious fragrance that is called Elderflower. Originally purchased from Mad Oils (it can now be found at Arizona Mad Oils), the flowers for this batch were made back in the winter of this year. The leaves were piped from Soap Dough recipe #001 from Sorcery Soap’s second book as this type of soap recipe lends itself perfectly to reach a consistency ideal for piping with pastry bag and tips. I love approaching soap dough this way. It’s far more comfortable for me than shaping, though the flowers were done that way with punches and the same dough recipe. Using a piece of plastic over the punch smooths out the edges to make the flowers much more realistic, softer, prettier.
This was done in a tall, skinny mold and only one colour for the swirl within. For this one, it isn’t about the swirl, it’s about the scent. That scent. Words fail. Bad thing to say in a blog, isn’t it? But adequately describing the scent and the feelings it evokes is nearly impossible. It’s a scent of summer days, walks through shady groves on well-worn paths and trees older than our country surrounding us on both sides. It’s one of old homes that housed the elite and the everyday man while living in a time and area that speaks softly of gentility, well-groomed person and manners to match and dripping glasses of sweet cool tea. The occasional lemonade doesn’t go amiss, of course, nor would a mint julep, two fingers of the finest bourbon to be had and a cigar that sends curls of smoke around our heads on a wrap-around porch.
You feel that cool greenness from those secret gardens tucked away from sight, the heady blooms that open in the heat of the day as well as those that only shine their best at night. It’s a glorious blooming of many flowers that are pristine, deeply green in stem and leaf, dance in the summer rain. This is a newfound favorite.