Both books seen in the blog image were written by Amy Stewart, who in addition to having written 12 books, owns one of the last classic antiquarian book stores in the country. When my now husband and I took our first trip together to visit the Giant Sequoias in the Redwood Forest, it was no mistake that we were driving distance from Eureka, CA. where Ms. Stewarts book store can be found.
I casually suggested lunch in town knowing that my ultimate destination was Eureka Books with the hope that Ms. Stewart would be making a rare appearance… I fantasized about chatting her up in a quiet corner of the store and becoming her new best friend. Total girl crush territory.
Although Ms. Stewart was not at her store, we wandered through the quiet aisles and I took deep inhales of the scent of old books mixed with sunshine warmed ocean air and honey from the communal bee hives in the town center of Eureka. I was content… For that moment.
I, of course, made rigorous inquiry with the shop keeper to find out when Ms. Stewart would be back. I barely managed to walk out of the store without a Temporary Restraining Order to the great relief of my husband, who happens to be an attorney.
What does this story have to do with perfume? Obsession. Not the popular Calvin Klein fragrance that dominated the mid 80’s...
The olfactory realm invisibly pervades our subconscious with every breath we take, and yet, it eludes description. It is chaos and order. Shadow, memento, obscure and immediate. It is the one sense that does not censor. It offers indisputable truth and yet it lives around us in its nuanced camouflage gently tapping on the door to our hearts and spirits.
I have been obsessed with the world of fragrance since my best friend properly introduced it to me 27 years ago. Amy Stewart writes about the botanical world with the electric fervor of a scent obsessed junky. I can recognize the comparably afflicted. I consider her one of my tribe.
As we left, we decided to tempt fate and try the Zoltar Fortune Telling machine that sits in front of Eureka Books. My pulse quickened as I fed him my quarters and secretly wished it would print out a 50% off coupon so I could buy my own Zoltar and have it give out olfactory inspired fortunes…