from Lavender and Old Lace by Myrtle Reed
A few days ago I was talking with a friend about how rosemary grew so abundantly in our herb gardens. The next day, I came across an old adage proclaiming that where rosemary flourishes, a woman rules. This happened to take place on International Women's Day.
While strolling through electronic pins and bookmarks today, I was reminded how much I love the paintings of John William Waterhouse. As I was looking at this mermaid portrait, I recalled that Waterhouse had also painted several portraits of Ophelia.
"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that's for thoughts..."
And it isn't much of a leap to think of Ophelia as a kind of mermaid...
Rosemary is derived from two Latin words meaning "dew of the sea."
According to legend, rosemary was draped around the Greek goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea.
As I was eating some mango for breakfast, I noted that it is somewhat camphoraceous, as is rosemary.
Yesterday I cut a generous handful of rosemary and loaded it into my slow cooker filled with water to steep. The smell was lovely. And I used the scent throughout the day much as one uses the sound of a bell to lead one back to meditation.
And if I had not remembered the works of Waterhouse, I would not have stumbled across this beautiful painting of Ophelia by Kevin Beilfuss at the Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara.
And I consider the beauty that can be born out of pain--paintings, poems, songs. One of my favorite lines of poetry is from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me."
I will close today with a piece of trivia:
"Oil of Rosemary was relatively well known among painters up until about 100 years ago, when some art supplies manufacturers still sold it, but its use was gradually eclipsed by turpentine." (The Art Treehouse)
MERMAID by Cheryl Hicks
When the water drips from my hair,
I would be a stream-bed.
When I look at the mirror,
I would have a silver back.
When steam rises from my legs,
I would be the cool above the tub.
When you smile at me,
I shine beauty above the water line.
If you touch me, I will shatter
into a million shining droplets of deception.