Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ode to an Hermes scarf



I tuck my chin in towards my chest and squint against the dust swirling around me. The Mistral winds have arrived out of nowhere. They sneak and slide, having all but pushed Summer, that swanning girl, out the door. Instinctively, I reach up and pull my scarf tighter around my ears.

It is my old Hermes scarf, my favorite that has travelled with me all over the world. Objects come into our lives, some disappear mysteriously, others stay. I try not to be too attached but there are pieces that give comfort. They tell me of who I once was and remind me of where I am now.

No one wanted this particular scarf, bought on ebay for 50 Euros. Already, it was trouée, a whole in one corner and touched by a slight ink stain. It was exactly what I was searching. Something I could wear hard without the guilt of ruination. Nothing precious and yet appreciated. A little glamour, linking back to another life before of glorious Manhattan to carry into the desert of the unknown.

I held it over my mouth during a sandstorm in Mali. Covered my head with it in Samarkand, folded the worn parts under to look chic in Udaipur. And in one of my favorite moments des mes voyages, I wrapped it over my hat with a firm bow under my chin while crossing the Serengeti, clinging to my sweetheart on the top of a barreling truck, exposed to the wind. Smiling so hard it hurt from the excitement of being.

The Mistral carries a different tune but flaps my scarf with the same song. The dogs run out ahead along the quay of the Rhone and I follow quietly in my quiet life. So soundless with nothing but the howl of the wind that I could wonder if I really did have those adventures or only dreamed them. My hand reaches up instinctively again to be sure, to secure this object, now frayed, luxury lost but memory-filled. A talisman.



PS. Thank you to all who responded so honestly and thoughtfully regarding my previous post.
I have a very exciting follow-up to it, coming soon...
PPS. - Thank you for all of your amazing responses! We are out of town and I will respond correctly next week...

38 comments:

I Dream Of said...

This scarf is so much more beautiful than any of the shining new ones under glass at a Hermes store. I love that it has had such a rich life - even before you found it and brought it along on your adventures. I know we shouldn't get too attached to objects and things (something hammered home when we moved my parents last spring). But as you say there are some pieces of our lives that become symbols and talismans. I have several - usually the littlest things that remind me of people and places and parts of my life that I've loved. And there's at tattered Hermes scarf among them, too. XOXO

Heather Robinson said...

Why does that not surprise me in the least, dear Jeanne? Thank you for your lovely and wise response. Bisous...

Judith Ross said...

Ah, I agree with Jeanne. In fact, yesterday I panicked when I couldn't find this little pitcher that I keep in the laundry room to fill the iron with. It is in the shape of a revolutionary soldier with a tri-cornered hat. It is nothing I would ever pick out for myself but it came from an elderly friend, who lived in my grandmother's house and who gave it to me right before she moved out after my grandmother passed away. It's a little piece of my history.

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

I love that scarf with its beauty marks and story!! Hope you model it for us too! X

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

What a beautiful post about a special treasure. . .memories.

Suze said...

'They sneak and slide, having all but pushed Summer, that swanning girl, out the door.'

WOW!

'Something I could wear hard without the guilt of ruination.'

Magnifique.

'Smiling so hard it hurt from the excitement of being.'

Happy lump in my throat.

An ode fit for peasants like me. :)





Sheree said...

I love your scarf. I have two favorites which both have small holes. I think it was a zipper in my case. Thanks for writing about this. The holes don't seem like such a bad thing now. :)

Heather Robinson said...

And I know how important your family history is to you, Judith. And that includes the current one! :) Who would have ever thought that such a pitcher could be so important? We must all have such details in our lives...

Heather Robinson said...

I thought that you would appreciate this N (although it is not the Hermes story that I promised you a while back, sigh). And yes Miss, I did model it in a recent post:
http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2013/10/kings-of-mountain.html
I really have worn it to pieces and especially love it as it is a carré, not a foulard and so much more practical for everyday...

Heather Robinson said...

Merci Jackie...it is a subject that you love well too...

Heather Robinson said...

Peasant? Bwahaaahhaaahaaa. Whew. That was a knee slapper. Thank you, I needed that. :)

And I forget sometimes that fine writers read the actual writing for writing. Judith does too. It makes me mighty happy when it pleases and I don't take for granted your encouragement, Bright Star one you.

Heather Robinson said...

Nope! They mean that they have been well-loved! Funnily enough, I have two foulards that my Honey gave me that are insaaaaanely gorgeous, they really are! And yet, I don't dare to take them out of their orange coffins often enough...sigh. We live and learn...

La Contessa said...

I think you have mentioned this scarf before!What a friend and accessory it has become!Really only 50 Euro's...........what a buy.
I decided about a year or two ago I would like one, but until now nothing!I haunt the consignment shops but none of what they have speaks to me!I want flowers...........roses I think!Hard to find when you have your mind set on something!I am in no need of scarves...........so maybe thats why!!!

Loree said...

That was just so beautiful that I got shivers down my spines. Like you, that scarf has had some adventures. I hope that you will both have many more.

Unknown said...

Heather, I so love to read your writing. Your thoughts invariably engage and challenge me fully, and your expressions of them are so creative, so evocative...unparalleled. (Today, for just one example, "Objects come into our lives, some disappear mysteriously, others stay. I try not to be too attached but there are pieces that give comfort. They tell me of who I once was and remind me of where I am now." I revisit my attachment to such objects, realizing much more about the purpose it serves.) Amidst stories of and comments about your current life, consider inserting tales of your past travels...your references to them are so enticing! Savoring today's gift and looking forward to more as always, Leslie in Portland, Oregon

Joan McKniff said...

A very wonderful piece of writing and living.

Glamour Drops said...

We have an old butter dish, made from recycled green beer bottle glass during the Great Depression, which one of my sisters-in-law gave to me. As she handed it to me, she said "It has a chip in it, and I know that won't bother you one iota, but it means we can't sell it in the shop, because other people don't see the beauty in it if it has a chip."

We use it everyday - it sits on the kitchen counter and gets a lot of love (we like butter!). And she was quite right, I love it even more because it has a chip in it…just like people, it's the flaws that makes us interesting.

Your scarf is absolutely beautiful, and I can understand how it means so much more, with all the memories, than just a bolt of silk.

silkannthreades said...

Even your scarf has a patina :); a very beautiful one.

Mumbai said...

It's not the scarf or his value, I guess, it's all your memories they have settled in over many years .Weeks ago you wrote about parfume. Isn't it similar? A certain scent bring back a certain moment. As long you can feel these you are alive.

simpleimages2 said...

Hi Heather,
Search and you shall find.
"It is my old Hermes scarf, my favorite that has travelled with me all over the world" and "The Mistral carries a different tune but flaps my scarf with the same song", "my hand reaches up instinctively again to be sure…" are the poetic renderings of "my quiet life." It could not be a quiet life. Is it?

And " it is a carré, not a foulard". I love that fine touch. And it was there in the mountain and the royal pair.

Best regards,
edgar

david terry said...

Oh,I kid you not......unfortunately, the very wealthy, German mother of a friend of mine (we'd all liked the lady during her many visits to America over the years) died this past Winter. The daughter (who's about my age & has lived in the USA for at least twenty years) came back from her visit to close down the German house bearing, among other items, somewhere around fifty Hermes scarves. Most of them were still in their original packaging...never worn....and they'd all been bought in Europe (France or Germany, I don't know) over the past forty years. From what I gathered my friend's mother wasn't particularly FOND of scarves, but Hermes scarves and jewelry were what her industrialist husband gave her for every holiday/special occasion over a very long marriage. My friend brought all of these scarves over to the house of two other, longtime friends (both female...mother and daughter) who indeed DO love scarves, but could scarcely afford even one Hermes scarf.......and then the riches started flowing as my German friend anounced "You'll actually wear them.....take as many as you want...just pick the ones you want..". Many Many Squeals.....many repeated declarations of :"Oh, I can't; I already took five! (invariably followed by a roll of German eyes and the declaration "Why NOT?..just have as Many as You WANT! They look GOOD on you!!!"). It was a very, very happy afternoon in that old house. I think my American friends wound up with about 15 ultra-luxurious scarves apiece. both happily remarked that they'd never have to choose or change outfits again; they'd simply change scarves every day.

Level best as Ever,
David Terry
www.davidterryart.com

George Snyder said...

I love this post - even the title is melodic. I love how you bring out the music in words.
I bought a box of scarves at an estate sale here and send presents to my 4 year-old goddaughter wrapped in them. I hope someday she appreciates them for what they are, but in the meantime they work well as a pirate headdress and as capes for super dogs. Bisous, G

breadispain.me said...

I love this!! You are such a charming writer...you really capture and articulate those lost thoughts that float through the mind. Bravo!

Heather Robinson said...

Edgar, it really is a very quiet life. Folks don't do as much in France as we do in the States. But there is appreciation for certain things...

Heather Robinson said...

Only you would remember that I mentioned the scarf before! Don't hesitate to look at ebay...

Heather Robinson said...

Oh thank you Loree, I am so grateful for that. Once you start traveling you have the bug!

Heather Robinson said...

Leslie, oh thank you for this so much. Remi saw your comment before I did and told me about it! :) And actually, I have written a tiny bit about our adventures but somehow let it go. If you type "Past Adventures" in the search option, they should arrive. But you are oh so right, I did these things and even if they seem far from my current life they deserve to be shared. Merci. Truly.

Heather Robinson said...

Merci Joan. You too have many tales to tell...?

Heather Robinson said...

My dear friend, I knew that you more than anyone would understand this post.
Gros Bisous to you and your gorgeous family.

Heather Robinson said...

teheee...

Heather Robinson said...

Mumbai, your responses always blast me! I loved this so very much. It is so true and so perfect.

Heather Robinson said...

Such a gorgeous story, David. Thank you for the reminder of the goodness for goodness sake(s) that still exists...That afternoon sounds like dry champagne.

Heather Robinson said...

George, there is a woman in Arles who is considered "une folle" because she wears lace mantillas and the like on a regular basis. All of her Labs have Hermes scarves wrapped around the collars...turns out she was an editor at Elle...there is nothing better than using these objects hard. If you look at the origins of any of the companies, well, that is what they were meant for...

Heather Robinson said...

I admire your writing enormously, hopefully you know that, so coming from you...whew! Thank you...

Elle's Parisian Chic Blog... said...

Indeed, so nice to have the appreciation of the spectacular Hermes and also the simple things in life..

1-4theroad said...

Heather, your post made me smile. I thought about all of my exciting (some would say crazy) adventures around the world - camping in the desert in Tunisia after battling a dust storm; traveling along the Nile in a felucca; hiking in Romania; spending a week in a hut in the Amazon River Basin in Ecuador and fishing for piranha; traveling in an armed convoy through Yemen's dangerous Marib province and exploring Egypt's Valley of the Kings on donkey, just to name a few.
But never, never would I be so brave as to take with me one of my much loved and treasured Hermes silk scarves in my ever-growing collection. Not when they're more than 400 bucks a pop!
They're safely stacked on top of one another on an upholstered shelf in my walk-in closet, waiting for me to select one of them, as I do at least three times a week, and wrap one around my neck.
No, I'll leave the traveling the far corners of the world with a beautiful silk up to you.
My beaten up hiking boots are my traveling partner. And they have some stories to tell!

Heather Robinson said...

Oh I loved this! We are up in the Luberon and only have internet upon occasion but I will look forward to finding out more of your adventures when we get back next week for you are clearly a woman after my own heart! And yes...the boots...mine are a pair of men's tod's (bought second hand and in my size) that I have worn out...nearly...but not yet!

Georgia said...

Why are my Hermes scarves neatly folded in a drawer? You've inspired me to take these "precious" gifts and wrap myself up in their elegance and warmth and beauty and just enjoy! Thank you so much.