There is a famous passage in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past in which one taste of a "little madeleine" cake transports the author to another place and time, filling him with a sense well-being and joy.
This soap is my madeleine.
One breath of it, and I am back in our summer cabin, high in the Adirondacks. Care and worry fall away, just as it did then, and for a moment there is nothing but sun, water, sky, and freedom.
The cabin had a warm, citrus, honeyed scent that we all loved but were never able to identify. It wasn't pine, though the cabin was pine, or the harsh, phony lemon of a cleanser. It was more like beeswax and ... something. Something else. When we left for the last time, I spent a moment quietly breathing in that scent, trying to remember, to take it with me. I didn't expect to encounter it again.
And then this soap appeared. We had never bought this kind before. My husband picked it up somewhere and stashed it in a vanity drawer in the new house before we moved in. When I opened the drawer for the first time, there was that scent, and with it that same sense of lightness and peace.
It's just an ordinary thing, just plain old Dove soap, with a fragrance they call grapefruit and lemongrass. It sounds more like breakfast than a magic potion, but in a way it is both. With every morning shower, it nourishes my soul and promises a day filled with possibilities. It reminds me that happiness comes one moment at a time. And that's a magic worth remembering.
*Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 1: Swann's Way: Within a Budding Grove.
5 hours ago