I was inspired by the image above: a ballerina on bricks. But it was more than simply standing on bricks. I focused on this dancer’s feet. I thought about the feet within the shoes and the time spent to gain the ability allowing such a pose.
It may be a stretch but lemons pose a similar metaphor. Often, people use lemon to add a certain brightness to a dish or drink. Lemon is even a common and popular cleaner that is used to restore shine. Lemons are used in a variety of positive manners. However, they also carry their own negative connotation.
On their own, people may think of lemons as sour or tart and would rarely consider to enjoy them on their own. In treating open wounds, a lemon is the last think you want near you. Even used cars are called lemons. Somehow lemons have been given good and bad connotations, but that is their nature.
Return to the concept of the ballet dancer: the final production is amazing, it is a performance that creates awe and astonishment from the audience, it is good. The countless hours and years before the performance, however, are what people forget. We do not all see the fallen dancer or the strain of memorization and pace. Even during the performance, we do not see the person beneath the outfit. We are oblivious to the strain they put on their bodies and what that looks like, physically and emotionally. Similarly, the final performance itself is restorative. It is the outcome of these tolls on our body; the conclusion to our efforts.
Consider the adage of turning lemons into lemonade, and its iterations thereafter. This cliché advises a person to take a poor situation and turn it into a better one. While it is a nice sentiment, it does grow tired especially when you consider the person and any effort it may take to continually turn your frown upside-down. You can imagine my refreshment in finding a nice twist on this phrase from Stephen King’s novel, End of Watch. In it, King writes “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Words to live by, especially when you kept in mind that the only way to make them into lemonade was to squeeze the hell out of them.” I enjoy this insight as it focuses on the manner in which we turn lemons into lemonade: it is not an easy process and it requires effort paired with greater struggle. It requires dozens of lemons – time – before you get to the final product. It is the transition that connects two opposite and extreme feelings.
Compared to lemons and the process of making lemonade, tea has a similar process but requires different effort and intention. While lemonade requires you to forcibly extract the juice from fruit, tea requires patience. Tea carries with it a simpler process while still carrying its own toll. In making tea, we cannot rush its process or hurry it along. Even different types require their own heat temperatures. Rather than squeeze the leaves, the goal is to ease the hell out of them.
When thinking of the ballet dancer or the processes of making tea and lemonade, there is a greater mix of variations that we often forget. Whether it is due to having done something so much, we often think about processes as extremely boring or simple afterthoughts. Whatever the reason, we forget to recognize the effort that is expected from us.
To make a lemon tea candle combines conceptual elements of restoration as well as activity and personal involvement. We must allow both: time to rest and time for action. We must remember that our efforts are equally used, regardless of the situation. As much as a moment may be about its surrounding good or bad, it is also an amalgam of both. There is a distinct blur between the sides so much that it is seamless, allowing for continuous movement between the two. The memory in this scent is one that steers us away from linear thinking and a singular path. This memory is about the cycle of life and the manner in which we are immersed – in control – and not at the mercy of the path.