Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rosemary


"As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship..."
Sir Thomas More
The selection of rosemary topiaries in the stores is excellent right now. Before they are picked over, grab one. It is nice to have a living plant in the home at Christmastime. As they are very much an outdoor plant, mine will not come in the house until the first week of December. That will give its best chance of surviving through the holiday season. Just after the first of the year it will be planted outside.
Rub the needles of a sprig between your fingers. The distinct aroma will linger for hours. Close your eyes and breathe in. The scent is something like camphor and pine and eucalyptus. You will never forget it.
Perhaps that it why rosemary in ceremoniesis associated with memory. Greek scholars wore crowns of it into exams to heighten their mental acuity. Sprigs are tucked into bridal bouquets as a symbol of fidelity to the groom and as a sign that the bride would not forget the family she was born to. In some cultures, a sprig of rosemary is tossed into the lowered casket to symbolize the deceased would not be forgotten.

Perhaps most appropriate to the season is the story of when the Virgin Mary on her journey to Egypt cast her cloak over the small white blossoms, they turned blue.

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