Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 77 ~ One Year, One Nose

Hand crushed antique orris root.

As part of the golden kyphi project, I have been hand crushing all manner of herbs, roots, seeds, resins and so forth. After the initial breaking down of the nearly rock hard antique orris root pieces, I began the process of powdering it -- again, using a mortar and pestle. My pestle is a round at one end, pointy on the other end palm-sized granite river rock. I was advised by Mr. M. to use a rounded pestle with those wild elements that seem to want to escape the mortar during the grinding process, and my native river rock works perfectly in that capacity. So I'm sitting in the studio rocker, listening to Niyaz, crushing the orris chunks into powder, my mind wandering off to Berkeley somewhere, when I slowly became aware of the most intoxicating scent -- it felt as if it had completely enveloped me. I sniffed my sleeve, my arm and then I looked at my lap where the mortar sat and saw that the orris was very nearly dust and the scent, that lush, sweet, heady, candy-like violet scent was pouring from there. I mean, it was an eye opener, a revelation, of the power of orris. I have never smelled orris root powder that smelled like this freshly crushed antique orris powder. My initial plan was to use all the orris powder in the kyphi, but right then and there I decided not to. I decided to save out a few grams and file them away in the scent library. I don't know if this orris is special because it is vintage, or because it has survived the ages whole, or if it was the process of hand crushing the orris which lent it its magic -- I honestly don't know, but I do know that it has changed the way I think about raw elements in their basic forms, and how someone way back when was able to 'discover' the beauty of these elements so easily. I wholeheartedly recommend you become intimate with raw materials in their most basic form as a means of better understanding the complexity of the extracts and scenting materials created from them.

On another note, I am exhausted! I stayed up late in anticipation of some of my children arriving from the central coast for a visit, then went to bed a few hours after my usual bedtime once they were here. So at 2:42 AM I am awakened by the sound of splashing -- one of the upstairs neighbors' habits is to go clubbing until the clubs close at 2, then she brings home the catch of the night and instead of taking them into her dinky apartment, she brings them into the communal backyard where they continue their rowdy and loud partying until 3 or 4 AM -- well, last night a group of about three men she had brought home at about 2:30 AM decided they had to empty their bladders -- in the gardens I've worked so hard to mend -- when one of the drunken louts steps straight into the pond! All I can say is HA HA. My son who had come over from the coast went out and asked them to please be quiet and stop swimming in the pond. They cleared out of the yard about 15 minutes later. So I'm tired. Really tired.

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