Forbidden quince, lilac hued meadow sage and creeping woodbine Envelop this verboten love, lost in the cadence of time. Zesty bergamot redolently embraces the venerable willow tree Chrysos, the incandescent hue of eternal love, woven in life’s filigree.
This black charred cedar dark and lavender sea salt cacao mysterious beauty, the color of antique amethyst rings set in silver upon the gnarled fingers of the collector of beasties & faeries and he who cavorts to the wild whisper of the flora vinifera of the Adelaide: El Paso de Robles dry-farmed roots, stretching deep, deep down, in search of precious life-giving water, held tight in rock, yet made available through laborious extraction, pulled to the surface like Persephone slowly wending her way back to the world of the living. And, waiting for her there, our plenipotentiary, doused in black light, neon markers at the ready, graffiti liberally applied to the room housing his throne. Can you hear his music, the thrums, trills and twangs of The Dance of the Shithouse Rat? What a trip! Let’s go back, traveling through the haze of time, floating on chicory coffee awash as if in waves upon the sea at low tide, pungent yet fresh as sprays of balsam fir and rosemary. This benevolent wine is guava, pink peppercorn, chai masala, sex in the Panamanian jungle, pipe smoke obscured drugs, and violet leather rock ‘n roll.
It starts with the sound of silence, followed by warmth. Viewed as if through Elton John’s rose-colored glasses, a blood orange sun dips behind clay-tiled roofs, bringing angled shadows and the barest suggestion of moving air. This faint breeze winds its way between the two-storied buildings, ever so gently brushing past crumbling plaster walls. Splashes of red, bright, and enticing as a kiss from cherry lips, jump from between window planters, iron gratings and wide flung shutters faded by the sun. Like crimson-breasted hummingbirds lured to sweet carambola nectar, paired footsteps unerringly gather, converging, collecting, and coalescing along their circuitous routes, as the first tenuously plucked notes tease the ear. The crowd thickens. It is energy encapsulated, building exponentially to a climactic breaking point. The floodgates open as music and passionate dance pour forth, uplifting as steaming Moroccan mint tea with a fine dollop of raw honey, tossed about judiciously with fresh strawberries soaked in Campari, elderflowers to garnish. Lavender, pomegranate and sandalwood are all but forgotten in the full, sensual, deluge upon the senses. Abruptly it seems, all motion stops. Sound trickles away as silence once again fills the void.
It had been raining, the earth damp and heavy. Greek oregano and lavender flowers swaying in the breeze of the morning sunlight. Cooking by the fireside, this was going to be a special meal – beans in an ash covered pignata with wild greens. As the red peppers stewed and the Campari tomatoes blistered, the scent of the wild boar hunted the night before comes wafting in from the butchers shed. A bouquet of sage, rosemary, and thyme danced a lovely prophetic ballet on the sauce. Nona’s secret recipe that can only be learned by doing. Passed down by generations before, her old and leathery hands twisting the made dough into casarecce. A pinch of sea salt sourced from the low waters of the Mediterranean Sea gets sprinkled into the sauce. The finishing touches are done as the table is being set. Family and friends gather to the long oak table under the olive trees. “Mangia!” shouts Nonna. This is what life is all about.
Wrapped in a vortex of fallen leaves, Zephyr materializes from out of the mist. His majestic wings flutter, leaving behind a scent of charred forest and wildflower honey. Before him cowers the River Nymph, Willow, her eyes wide in astonishment. Cast out and fearing her magic all but lost, she desperately yet trepidatiously accepts his offerings, his promises of power and immortality. “Dear child, reach deep down into your being and sup of the elixir of Eternal Life,” says Zephyr as he tilts a bejeweled chalice toward Willow’s ruby-blushed face. Her eyes clench shut as she feels the scarlet nectar burst upon her tongue; crimson pitahaya, strawberry, ripe pear and gunpowder tantalize her senses, while the exotic aromas of tomato leaf and kaffir lime draw her back to the burbling mountain steam where she was born. As Zephyr gazes upon her, lips quirked in a mischievous smirk, she understands, this is where she belongs, she is whole, singing under the willows with the gentle West Wind, feet dangling delightfully in the cool water of her placid brook.
You see her across the burnished bar, swizzle stick in hand between burgundy polished nails, absently twirling her Old Fashioned. Dreamlike, a luscious fragrance of Luxardo cherry, sweet bourbon, and blood orange mingle with the aromas of pipe tobacco and cigars. As beguiling as the stars of days gone by, she is Maureen O’Hara, bright as the Queen of Technicolor. She provokes a sense of the intangible and yet is both constant and ever evolving. A delectable spread awaits: roast beef with fragrant sprigs of rosemary, clary sage, and flowering thyme; a hearty stew infused with ginger, saffron; and an enticing bouquet garni, herbs gathered meticulously in the rolling southern hills of the Golden State, with a hearty handful of spices sprinkled within. Blackberry-chocolate syllabub arrives to further delight the senses. Why is it always this dazzling woman in red that perpetually enchants the unsuspecting mortal?