Everyone knows how words and concepts can complicate and obscure experience. Today’s short post is an attempt to describe a few minutes in my life this morning. The idea of richness is about smells and perception of temperatures and awareness of space. As an aside, I am experimenting with square format images at the moment and have three to share with you today.
I had left my Crumpler bag in Olivia’s house last night—and the Samson Go Mic was inside the bag! So, in bare feet, I opened my back door and this was the view I saw immediately and what I felt immediately. En route to Olivia’s, I walked across the frosty grass: intense.
On returning and setting up the dictation system, I made what is always for me the best coffee: the second coffee of the morning. And the extra caffeine had the effect of making me aware that the body needed to go to the toilet: ah, the joys of the squat toilet!
Getting onto the support and simply lowering the body into the full squat position is a complex suite of sensations. I love this feeling. And I realised today that, in fact, I have not mentioned what I consider to be the most profound aspect of the squat toilet in the earlier post: once one has adopted the squatting position on the support, and relaxed, one simply breathes the process of excretion. It is a beautiful, rich, and incredibly relaxing sensation. Why is it that this simple pleasure not celebrated? And I reflected on the process of how what was once a part of the body only seconds before becomes ‘waste‘.
And when at home it is my morning habit to light a small piece of “Arjuna” sandalwood incense from Indonesia, given to me by my dear friend Cherie. I break off a small piece and use the wonderfully named “Redheads” large kitchen match to ignite the end and I extinguish the flame by gently waving the piece of incense from side to side. As I light the incense and become aware of its extraordinary smell I always think of Cherie. Nothing ties a memory more strongly in the body than the sense of smell that is associated with it. I experience gratitude.
Watching the smoke rise in infinitely varying patterns from the surface of the incense is fascinating; the odour intoxicating. The edge of the squat toilet can be seen in the background. The glass kettle is treasured: the patterns in the water as it heats, then boils, is likewise fascinating.
But it is the patterns of the smoke leaving the burning end of incense which hold the most interest for me: the air in the kitchen part of my little house is extremely cold because the room is unheated and, as a result, the smoke rises rapidly. I am intensely aware of the cold lino under my feet and the sense of the exact size and volume of the space I am standing in. I look at the incense residue under the coil burner and reflect on how many mornings like these have led to its creation. I feel deep gratitude for the experience of being alive.