The Scent of Almonds

Author: Christina Graham Parker Labels::


While writing Princess, I wrote a scene in which it became necessary to describe the way Lukas smelled. My first thought was, he probably didn’t smell all that great being a sixteenth century male and all. But no one wants to read a book about a stinky hero, so I gave it more thought. Since he was a wealthy duke’s son, I decided he probably smelled better than your average sixteenth century male.

After checking to make sure scented soap had been invented, I realized he smelled like leather (not from soap) and almonds (soap).

I didn’t think too much about it until I found myself in the middle of the Beth Moore study, A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place, and a session discussed almonds. Specifically the part in Exodus where God instructs Moses to have the tabernacle lampstand made with almond flowers in the design. Beth noted that the Hebrew word for almond (shaqed) is almost the same as the Hebrew word for watch (shaqad). I promise that’s significant, plus it shows how God plays on words, which I think is very cool.

Beth went on to explain that the almond (shaqed) is the earliest flowering plant in Israel, budding sometimes before the end of February. Often, she said, God is anxious for us to produce spiritual fruit and allows us to do it earlier than we think we should. God is watching (shaqad) to see His Word fulfilled in us.

And this has what to do with Lukas?

Lukas, I think everyone can agree, is probably the very last person one would expect to produce any spiritual fruit, much less produce it early. But he smells like almonds, remember? It only stands to reason that he’ll bear fruit early and fulfill God’s Word in the process. And he’ll do it while people watch.

I know relatively few readers will ever realize the significance of Lukas and his almond soap, but I smile every time I think about it.

2 comments |
  1. Awww... that's a great way to think about your character.

  1. Actually, medieval and sixteenth century people were not nearly as unwashed, dirty and unhygienic as is commonly thought- I actually wrote a post on this subject on my own blog http://medievalreader.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/the-great-medieval-unwashed/.
    Soap did indeed exist then- and there was actually a plant called 'soapwort' which produces a lathery soap like substance when the leaves are scrunched and rolled up in the hands.

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