Straight up purple perfection. That’s how lavender is perceived here at Appalachian Botanical Co, and we like to think that’s how you picture our prized plant too. Lavender carries different meanings to different thinkers, and we thought we’d explore the various images and feelings that lavender connotes.
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
—John Keats, “Endymion”
Good ole John certainly got it right, way back in 1818 when he wrote that “a thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” The beauty of lavender has certainly sustained throughout the centuries. It’s easy to close your eyes and immediately conjure up the image of a single lavender bundle tied in raffia ribbon. Or perhaps you summon rows of lavender, growing in fields with bees buzzing against a backdrop of blue skies. Maybe you remember the first time you tasted lavender in the honey that your friend offered at teatime. Maybe you skip the visual and gustatory journey entirely, and make a break for the olfactory instead. Breathing in the scent of lavender transports you directly to the spa, where you luxuriate in a full-body massage. Possibly, that same aroma lands you in your grandmother’s claw foot bathtub where she used to pour lavender oil in her nighttime bath.
For some of us, the mere whiff of lavender slides us into a zenlike aromatherapy reverie. You are in the bath or you are at the spa. Lights are dimmed and stillness surrounds. The only sounds heard are peaceful and rhythmic inhales and exhales. Are purple clouds hovering in anyone else’s background? The calming properties of lavender are well-documented and in this scenario, the mood that the lavender-sage massage oil you rubbed into your skin has relaxed you to the point where maybe, just maybe, you floated away on one of those made up lavender clouds.
Perhaps you go the more domestic route and conceive of lavender in the home, where it often appears in burlap drawer sachets. Maybe you burned a dried lavender bundle in your stone fireplace or are now hanging some stems upside down in the kitchen for decoration. You set the table with linen tablecloths and napkins adorned with needlepoint, the purple threads forming the shape of a lavender bundle. Old fashioned, yes, but never out of style.
Or, if you subscribe to the philosophy of “living well is the best revenge,” you dream of a dinner invitation to the rural village in Southern France, where Julia Child lived in the early 1960s. Imagine you are invited to Pitchoune as Julia’s dinner guest (Pitchoune literally means “the little thing” and is the name of her villa, because duh, if you have a villa, you gotta name it) and you are welcomed to the chef’s table as a fellow bon vivant, where the living is easy.
Tonight, Julia is either making ratatouille from garden fresh vegetables or serving her soupe de pistou, a Provençale classic. In the middle of the rustic wooden slab table--where you will dine al fresco--sits the perfect centerpiece of fresh cut lavender, gathered from the fields that morning. From your vantage point, there is nothing better than lingering guests—bon amis who share a gourmet meal and tell stories while imbibing both wine and night air filled with the aroma of nearby lavender. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
But We Digress...
What matters is THAT we dream, and all dreams are endless and without boundaries. So let us take a minute out of our busy day to remember that beauty “does not pass into nothingness.” No matter where lavender takes you via the mind, nose, or tongue, we want to see where you travel. Please share with us YOUR vision of lavender on our Instagram page.
MEET THE AUTHOR / TINA TUMINELLA is a writer from Pittsburgh, PA who thinks of herself as an eater, talker, music-lover, mommy, francophile, and obsessive recycler. She bakes sweet things regularly, rides bikes and hikes with her family, and is a sucker for a pun. Her favorite product: Organic Lavender Cream