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It’s been a hot, damp summer. The sort of summer that chokes ambition and oppresses all hope of leisure with the heavy hand of humidity, leaving a residue of must suffocating every organic prop of comfort within the ecosystem we call home. In such a climate neither woven basket nor wooden table is immune from the onslaught of spore infused dampness that pours itself upon surfaces like a mold of mold, encasing each victim in a shroud of powdery decay which, if left to linger, will claim victory under the banner of rot by way of surrender.

Summers like these inevitably bring nature’s warfare upon us. One succumbs to the dark forces of decadence or rises to crush the threat, armed with lemons and oils of a hundred flowers to vanquish the uninvited organisms. ‘I see your mildew and I’ll match it with citrus and vinegar rinse’ – perhaps up the ante with a scattering of lavender to keep the rogues at bay. It is a natural war with organic weaponry of microbes and anti-microbes, easily overcome, if only day by day. Taking up bough and yarrow, a counter-assault of botanical weapons is launched. The invading hosts are driven back and your kingdom is preserved. You celebrate the sweeping victory with a limoncello on the rocks.

The day’s inferno melts away. The time for action has passed and the hour of contemplation arrives. The sun sets. The air cools. Able to inhale with natural ease, you find the night’s breath light, perfumed with the unmistakable scent of jasmine; God’s gift to those who seek sanctuary from the hostilities of the day in the cool stillness of nightfall. In the retreat of contemplation is found both strength and reward. In the theology of creation is found the antidote and the cure, the prayer and the reply. In God is found the panacea. With the quiet aftermath of summer daylight begun, the jasmine opens her white blossoms and intoxicates the darkness with a sweet, subtle infusion revealing God’s presence. So divine is her flower that the perfume is strongest when the blossom is yet a fragile bud; an unlit incense of innocence gently permeating the foothills of heaven.
I was thinking of the summer heat while contemplating the summer night. I was thinking of jasmine and I was thinking her perfume is the chemistry of spiritual reflection inspired by natural law. I was thinking of jasmine and the philosopher’s stone.

It’s been a hot, damp summer. The sort of summer that chokes, oppresses, and suffocates the clarity of the mind, leaving a residue of bitter words and toxic lies not even moonshine could wash away. Summers like these inevitably bring partisan warfare upon us. With vile pretensions of omniscience masked as charitable service, they seek to steal our loyalty through betrayal. These are the onslaughts of unnatural conflict, inorganic poisons and powdery mildew that invade not our surfaces, but the depths of our thoughts. It is the alchemy of politics; a strange blend of magic tricks and political science that searches for the philosopher’s stone in the apothecaries of charlatans that measure without scruples, instead dispensing their drugs in weights of flesh. They work in the shadows, these circus lords and potion makers. They are master alchemists, able to turn the corrosive base metals of those who’ve sold their souls into words of gold. By slight of hand and a split tongue they trick by division; offering a captive population optional illusions. They offer us promises of prosperity and peace, security and health. They market the deception as a choice between the head and the tail as if there were no shared corpus between them. We surrender to the seduction, succumbing to the dark forces of decadence thinking we must choose the lesser of two evils. If only we’d realize; no matter how you toss it, it’s still the same coin. It isn’t gold. It’s just base lead weighing us down.

I was thinking of the inferno while contemplating the breeze. I was thinking of jasmine and the philosopher’s stone. I was thinking; so I refused the coin, closed the door, and kept the rogues at bay.