Move to the Pacific Northwest and you are likely to fall in love.
We first fell in love with lavender fields near Hood River, Oregon, where acres of blooms are caught between snow-capped mountains.
This summer, it’s the lavender of Washington, where there are even more glacier-topped ridges.
Lavender is a lot like other objects of love: Take one feature, one sprig, and it’s pleasant, but not overwhelming.
Breathe it in, hold that … and it’s one of the best anti-stress potions nature provides.
I know this because fellow counselors swear by the benefits of aromatherapy. Lavender is near the top of their list for helping to soothe people in pain.
I bought a linen sachet of the stuff at a farmer’s market in Port Orchard earlier in the summer, and found that it truly was a gentle, anti-anxiety flower.
Then a kind friend gave me lavender-scented bath salts, and I was even more convinced of the calming properties of lavender. (A few tablespoons in a warm bath led to the best sleep I’ve had in weeks.)
By happenstance, we were exploring San Juan Island this past weekend, and met a boisterous bunch of women headed for a lavender festival. It was on our way to the coast, so we stopped to take a few photos.
It’s not France, but the Pelindaba Lavender fields have the same gently rolling hills of blossoms, catching sunlight and bees on a warm afternoon.
We moved on, eager to reach the ocean.
But we listened intently to a local woman explaining all the health benefits of lavender, for healing wounds, especially.
Later, we stopped at Pelindaba’s retail store in Friday Harbor, on the same island, and were struck by how mellow everyone seemed. The scent of lavender hung in the air like a natural perfume, and it seemed all who entered the store relaxed instantly. We joked about it, then laughed when customers and the store manager agreed that lavender, indeed, had that power.
We bought lemon lavender sorbet and delighted in every tiny spoonful, sitting outdoors int the hot sun, overlooking the water.