Images courtesy of Hyascent.

This Bourbon Diffuser Might Be the Secret to Surviving Pandemic Fatigue

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It’s the little things that will get us to the finish line now.

I was once so obsessed with Little House on the Prairie that I threatened to run away from home if my mother refused to let me wear flowing calico dresses to school.

Whether it was a revolt against the brown velour tracksuits dominating my 1970s childhood or the iconic novel’s pioneering spirit that stirred my inner adventurer, I’ll never know. But as the combo of post-Christmas and COVID-19 fatigue sets in, I’m taking a hard look at the classic series again—and finding some of the lessons learned on the Midwestern frontier in the 1870s are as useful today as they were back then.

Heroine Laura Ingalls Wilder, or Half-Pint as she was affectionately called, had no shortage of plucky wisdom to help her persevere through hardship on the cold prairies. While her fondness for Pa’s fiddling suggests heartfelt, simple entertainment might help us survive this winter of our discontent (another round of Scrabble, anyone?), it’s the wise-beyond-her-years stuff that offers timeless counsel:

“It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good.” 

Certainly, love and kindness and helping others are key right now but so, too, is just plain being good. So, I will continue to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s lead. But I will also add some fruit to the mix to sweeten the pot.

Wilder would no doubt understand. When she writes of receiving an orange in her Christmas stocking, her delight is palpable. An orange! This exotic, rare gem discovered in the toe of a stocking in a remote cabin on a Kansas prairie shows small things can have a big impact.

My stand-in orange is this elegant diffuser by Hyascent, a line of sophisticated home fragrances conceived by San Francisco realtor Helena Zaludova who, after working with designers and stagers to sell luxury homes, thought good scents also made good sense.

Her journey took her from a California design studio to perfumeries in France, villages in the Czech Republic, a woodshop in the Midwest and, finally, a factory in Pennsylvania for hand assembly. Now, one of her glass diffusers sits in my office.

When it’s turned upside down, much like an hourglass, the raw wood centre becomes saturated with oil, then permeates the air with its heady scent.

In my case, Bourbon Joy—with its notes of zesty mandarin, bourbon vanilla and cedarwood—evokes not only the citrus of Wilder’s prized orange, but also a happy hour drink at the bar. My room now smells of sunny climes and happier times.

The scent promises to last four to six months, which means it will hopefully carry me closer to the elusive finish line that lies somewhere in the long months ahead.


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January 20, 2021