“And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son [is] as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed…”
If you’ve ever watched movies that take place in the middle ages, you’ve probably witnessed scenes set in a huge castle. Some movie makers have tried to be true to life, showing dogs and sometimes even other animals scampering about inside the castle. Now and again Henry VIII or Richard IV tosses a bone onto the floor. In short, those old castles were not too clean, and there were plenty of unpleasant odors around.
People 700 years ago didn’t like odors in their homes any more than we do today. And just as you might use air fresheners in your home, they used air fresheners, too. The most common practice was called “strewing herbs.” Thyme, lavender, rosemary, mints and other herbs were grown just for spreading on the floors. When they were walked on, the aromatics in their stems were released, freshening the air.
In addition, mint and wormwood were placed in cupboards to repel mice. Many people still sprinkle these herbs among linens when they are to be stored for a while to avoid a musty smell. They will also help keep a hideaway bed fresh smelling during those long periods when it may be folded into a couch.
Few people in our present world know all the ways in which previous generations solved the same problems our modern products are designed to solve. I hope this “Creation Moment” has served as a reminder that the Creator’s provision extends to every human need – even to something as seemingly unimportant as air fresheners.
Dear Father, You know our needs even before we ask. Yet You have commanded us to pray and have promised to hear us. Forgive my poor use of prayer; help me to remember and feel welcome to bring all my needs, even those that seem small, to You in prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Brandies, Monica. 1985. “Mother Nature’s air fresheners.” Gurney’s Gardening News, Dec. Jan., p. 26. Illustration: Rosemary from Köhler’s Medicinal Plants.