Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

When I was a naive adolescent Sled my best friend — I thought, although she later drop-kicked me to be a Maoist and a joyless doctrinaire participant in The Struggle, but that’s another story — fancied Simon and Garfunkel, and took up the guitar (I don’t think she ever quite forgave me for being a musician’s daughter and figuring it out faster). We learned this one pretty much together.

There are a load of theories about what the text represented: an “impossible task” narrative? A memory of the plague years? I plumped for the notion that the herby refrain was an actual medicinal recipe of some sort and hied me to the kitchen, where I bunged the cited botanicals into a teapot along with some glorious old Camellia Sinensis and, for good measure, a shot of creme de menthe, which I was permitted to drink daintily in those pre-insanity days when a regulated taste of spirits by the juvenile was not yet treated as an actionable offense.

It was remarkable. I don’t know what it might have cured or invoked, exactly, but it created a vision of hazy horizons and the light of other days. I drank it regularly, though not obsessively, until I fucked off to college and hadn’t the facilities to do it right.

I realized last night that I have all the components in my yard: even the parsley wintered over the last two years: all I need is to go nail down the creme de menthe. (As a classical music fan I am remiss in lacking this, anyway, or has anyone else ever heard of the creme-de-menthe variation?)

Suddenly I have a passion to brew this long-lost tisane from my own patch of earth. I am a little afraid of what I will remember when it strikes my olfactory bulbs, but, with deferrals to the whack of snow that we are supposed to get tomorrow, which may interfere with the trip to the spirits vendor, I am determined to do it.


7 thoughts on “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

  1. Thanks for the earworm this morning! I don’t mind this one, always thought it was lovely, but never debated a deeper meaning. If you do this, will you document for us? I also have all three out there (and the parsley looks so happy). I don’t have the creme de menthe, though.

  2. To me, crème de menthe is a low grade alcoholic beverage that you steal from your parents reserve as a teen. I don’t think I ever drank any as an adult.

    I love Simon and Garfunkel. I own a compilation of all of their albums. I used to listen to them a lot back in college (second half of the 90s). Obviously privately, since few of my friends would have like to listen to music that is good to sleep. Yes yes, I know it’s mostly Christian music (the first album in particular), but if you don’t mind to be reminded that Jesus loves you more than you will know, the music is nice and the voice harmonics are sublime. I’ll admit I never actually tried to interpret this one particular song.

    The ingredients in the song are for a common hallucinogen. Nah just kidding!

    • Well exactly, I was a teenager at the time wasn’t I? Creme de menthe does have its uses though, just look at Rachmaninoff. As for hallucinations, I only wish.

      Christian music? I always interpreted the Jesus Loves You line in Mrs. Robinson as seriously sarcastic, though of course all the teenage Jesus freaks of my acquaintance couldn’t get enough of “Bridge over Troubled Water.” And wasn’t “Feelin’ Groovy” a paean to getting stoned? My personal favorite is The Boxer.

  3. I wonder what olfactory memories have surfaced after you tried it after such a long time. Ok, no, it is your private stuff, some of my memories too I don’t like when they come back. The creme de menthe is interesting. I never tried it and didn’t even know it existed.

    Jesus in Simon and Garfunkel? My English was basic in my teen years. We, I, just felt the music was beautiful, with a tiny bit of counter-culture in it.

    I have now listened to ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’. Who knows if it was Jesus (“I’ll take your part when darkness comes” maybe?) or just that sense of brotherhood so marvellous in those days (and totally absent today). The Boxer was one of my favourite songs too.

    On the whole, the music of those days that came to Italy from the US and the UK was the best for us. Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones etc. were better in our opinion but Simon and Garfunkel was the only band that conveyed, to us, this sense of ‘teenage sublime’.

    I have drifted. This post was about a potion.

    • Which I haven’t done yet — because I went out to find that my sage had not weathered the extreme winter. So I’ll have to wait till spring, as it always comes back; only in Virginia, it rarely goes away. But it has been cold enough to freeze people’s windshield, never mind the leaves of woody herbs.

      I never listened to “bands,” so just a rare song would catch my ear in someone else’s home; where I lived it was all Mozart and Paganini and so on, and I didn’t like the untrained voices of popular singers. But my friend’s enthusiasm for S and G was catching and the music was complex AND gentle, two characteristics that I rarely found elsewhere.

  4. So we have to wait until Spring to know the effect on you. And if you like it again, with Spring there going on and on, it will be a looong thing.

    At that time I liked both classical and rock-pop-etc. Afterwards, until now, I like only classical.

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