I’ve decided that what I like most about henna is how it makes me feel. I think it’s fairly safe to say that human beings love to adorn their bodies. Whether it’s with jewelry or make-up, tattoos and piercings, face-painting and air-brushing, scarification, or coloring our hair pink, blue or green, the people on this particular planet like to mix it up, change it up and turn themselves into living, breathing ornaments. Mind you, there is also a lot to be said for a beautiful, bare, unmarked body. And that’s why there will always be a market for temporary body art.

But adorning myself with henna doesn’t just fulfill my urge to play around with how I look. There’s something about henna body art that makes me feel special. It’s not just the peals of delight I get from total strangers so jaded by the permanent tattoo phenomenon that they barely notice them anymore. Everyone’s got one, it seems! It’s not the act of taking part in a ritual now thousands of years old, which, according to lore, imparts love, luck, prosperity and devotion upon the wearer. And it isn’t coming from my endless fascination with the head-scratching endurance of the near-universal love for henna tattoos by westerners nearly 20 years after they were first introduced on this side of the world. After all, trends do come and go fairly quickly, but not henna. This is no trend. It’s a keeper.

No, it’s none of those things. I’m thinking that the reason I feel special when sporting a henna tattoo is that when I look at it, it makes me smile. Because that gorgeous reddish brown stain is a lovely and graceful thing to behold.

Me with one of my favorite designs!

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