Most people will recognize CHARTREUSE as a color. It’s now basically defined as ‘half-way between green and yellow’. A Yellowish-green, or a greenish-yellow if you will. (#7FFF00 if you’re curious). The color Chartreuse (first identified in 1884) is named after the natural hue of the meticulously crafted liquor. (Fun Fact: It’s the only liquor in the world that has a natural green color.)
The liquor started out as an elixir of life in 1605. The recipe consists of about 130 plants and herbs. A recipe that is ONLY EVER KNOWN BY TWO LIVING MONKS at a time. That’s right, the recipe is more closely guarded than the Google search algorithm or the ingredients of Coke. The liquor is in turn named that after the monks who make it.
L’Ordre des Chartreux was founded by St Bruno in 1084. Le Dessert de la Chartreuse was the uninhabited valley where they set up their life. It is an order dedicated to a life of solitude and quiet contemplation. The name of the order comes from the mountain range where it was established.
The mountain range massif de la Chartreuse is a breathtaking place full of streams and alpine meadows, limestone caves, mossy valleys, and 2,000m tall rocky peaks. Its name comes from Latin via Gaullic, likely the name of an ancient tribe Caturīges which meant ‘King of Battle.’
(there is also apparently a cat breed Chartreux – but other than having grey hair and being ‘intelligent enough to operate on/off buttons and open a screen latch door’ I’m not sure what I have in common with them)
I love the mountains. I love the color, the liquor – heck, I even love the typeface:
I’ve used the name Chartreusian online now for over a decade or so. (it has the added value that since I made up the word it’s never taken when I try to sign up for something)
I have a Chartreuse hoodie. A t-shirt. Embossed glasses. I used to have an oil lamp made out of an empty Chartreuse bottle. I get it for birthday gifts. I’ve been to the distillery more times than I could count. Hiked up around the monetary a bunch of times.
It’s safe to say my affinity is more than just skin deep.
However, the most meaningful to me is the foundational belief of the monks.
STAT CRUX DUM VOLVITUR ORBIS
The cross is steady while the world turns.
The Cross is steady while the world turns.
The stylized image of a cross sitting on top of the globe says – while things may seem chaotic, out-of-control- something is standing above all that.
The cross stands.
I’ve been through enough in this life to know that feeling of complete disoriented confusion. Of waves of joy that crash onto jagged rocks of despair. Of making hard choices you swore you’d never make, and feeling like there is not one good way forward.
That’s when this is helpful for me to remember.
The cross stands while the world turns.