This is the finest perfume I have ever had the honor of working with. It began when I started distilling. Every time I would go into the forest i would feel guided to go to the oldest trees. These trees were iin the forests I had tended since birth, first on the backs of my parents, as a baby, and then later in my own ways.
The oldest Sitka Spruce in north america fell in lands devastated by clearcuts the first year I began to distill. She came crashing down to a bolt of shining lightning. All around her the land flooded and her children fell with red cedar, alder, and fir, as naked hillsides destroyed by a greedy industry, offered no protection. Further down in the valley the oldest Black Poplar in north America was hit by a storm, and cast down a resin covered branch just as my father was walking with my mother to go look at the river. He took the branch and gave it to me as a gift, which I then gifted to my students over the years as perfume and incense. These elders guide all that I do, and when I work with plants I consider every little weed to be just as valuable.
Through my past I would wander the forest, cleaning up garbage or monitoring clearcut areas, all the while lookingfor any aromatic plants I could find, seeking to recreate the scent of the rapidly disappearing NW old growth forests. I would return home at night and research anything I could find about local aromatics and whether they were safe to extract, or sustainable to draw from.
To allow for this to feel good in my heart I followed certain rules, which meant that if I harvested from an old tree, it was only what fell in storms, and only in areas which were extremely littered with an abundance of fire tinder. For cedar trees I tended groves by burying salmon or seaweed in their roots, and worked to observe how the animals were moving in tight years, and skipping harvests in years of drought or severe long winter. Anything I harvested I focused on intently, as a form of medicine, as a lifelong friend, as a person who I wished to honor as living and in need of support.
As I learned to distill, one plant at a time, I would often get trees from people planning to cut a tree down, or find trees slated to go to the dump or understory plants which would be destroyed in clearcuts. Other distillers began sending oils and many trades over the years grew into a huge global forest library of scent.
Over the last 16 years of learning to distill, I have felt the forest and rivers to be my most fundamental teachers and elders, and devoted my life work to their protection. This perfume represents the "Green Ring" of hope, devotion, and connection to and with the forests that we love. Each bottle of forest perfume has a green agate ring which is meant to remind us of our inherent wholeness and our ability to make things whole through interconnected work. The circle is a symbol of protection, enlightenment, family and community unity, past meeting present and future, and the bonds of loyalty we make to one another. Rings are symbols of sunlight, moonlight, and growth. This is also one of our family names, and the layers of connection between what I love and what I wish to manifest with those I love, are embodied here.
The scent itself is like you are walking through the forest, in a medicine wheel around the year, from the beautiful spring of violets, waterfalls, poplar and current, to the wild ginger and douglas fir of spring that dance into the swallowtail clearings of wild rose, sweet woodruff, and red cedar made even sweeter by vanilla leaf of restraint and reason. In the bottle are the years of carving heartwood from "Big Tree" the fallen heartwood of a tree born 1000 years ago. In the bottle there is struggle, and volition, turmoil, and peace born of seeking. Behind the waterfall I left my shoes but I brought back the scent of otter dens and fox palaces. It is a paradise of the heart where moss beckons you to lay by flowing turquoise waters. Waters the color of malachite and waters the color of chrysochola, tiny streams abounding between lakes, and all the while there is a cycle of sunlight drying basalt, and the deep fog of rain on earth. Petrichor of the soul this is the best I have to offer, and I hope it eases some of the burdens we have all shared in the crossing from one time to another. May you feel the love of the forest, now fallen, and know you are holding what once was, and what we must return to life to live in ease again.
Last all day on the skin. This "Elders Walking" perfume was mostly given away to teenagers, family, houseless folks, and friends...this is the rest <3