That first thaw was nothing but a false promise of Spring.
A few days of green, smelling almost chemically fresh after a winter’s absence, and then the ice re-descended.
In heavy boots she makes her way across frosted grass its bright coloured hope still visible through translucent water now made glass.
Through dawn’s shivering shimmering light she sees a foolhardy wild lawn, bleached mosses, snowdrops, the odd unfortunate purple crocus, miniature iris pushing up against a cold ceiling. Beneath the frozen pane white primulas pretend being gardenia, their pastel cousins ape tulips.
And though they are already deceased and just deep freeze preservatives of their former selves, she minds her step, careful not to carelessly crush scarce beauty.
At the lake’s edge its solid expanse deceives with a pledge of permanence. She knows a few weeks hence and it will be ebbs and flows, freeform and fluid again.
‘Ice Woman’, ‘Snow Queen’, ‘Bird Lady’.
The children who come, some affectionate, some angry, some reigned in and some indulged , they know her by many names.
All except the one she keeps for herself.
For with her metal spade, it’s trusted still true blade, two thermos flasks of hot water and steely will she will recover one portion of the lake.
In her corner, the season changes for an hour or as long as she cares to make it linger.
At first sight of a rippling surface bewildered birds swarm and then swoop to slake parched palettes and bathe. Brave sharp toothed mammals kitted out in winter furs and woken too soon from an hibernating slumber saunter sleepily forth eager for refreshment.
All, suddenly, is life again.
She hears the ice some way off creak and crack and in its low groan makes out his words:
‘We are continents you and I’ he said ‘Our plate tectonic wills erupt when they collide’.
She puts that irrevocable breach to one side and concentrates on her small foreshadowing of the inevitable coming of warm weather.
Ma Griffe is a sorrowfully optimistic scent.
It seems to know that despite its pure white floral heart it is destined to lead a cold life.
It makes a fair fist of a bright opening all aledhyde and aromatic, then transforms effortlessly into a clean and becoming bouquet of freeze dried flowers.
Though somehow these notes of gardenia, iris, orange blossom, jasmine, muguet and rose are too brittle. One senses they would break if touched.
It is this fragility, as if the whole fragrance’s slight composition where stretched out to too tight over an oakmoss structure too big and forceful for it, that is the scent’s haunting charm.
If it were not for a slight powdery sweetness that arrives midway through, this perfume would be the very epitome of sparseness.
As it is Ma Griffe is entirely sympathetic and strangely attractive in a solitary way.
It should be noted that loneliness afflicts both men and women equally, this being the appropriate accompaniment for such an unfortunate emotion I see no reason why all should not feel free to use it.