November 4, 2009

The Spice Trade

play me:

In my neighborhood, not far from my house, is the Paradise Spice Company; I drive past it several times a week. It's not much to look at, just a large rectangular red brick building behind a chain link fence. There's nothing to cue you visually for the rich bouquet of fragrance carried on the slightest breeze, and if you're not expecting it, it comes as a complete surprise. Cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves. Heady. Intoxicating...

I caught on long ago, and now I roll down my window in anticipation, incline my head, and inhale deeply as many times as I can manage before the light changes and I must move on. I imagine what it might be like inside: clouds of saffron, vats of turmeric.

Everything about these spices is lovely - the fragrances, the colors, the flavors, the names: nutmeg, ginger, anise. They conjure the rustle of silk, hot sun, clattering marketplaces. Smoky incense. The tinkle of tiny bells in the breeze, or on an ankle. Another world, mysterious, slightly dangerous, completely irresistible...

photos:,,,, (& 9),,,,,,, (x2),,,

Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,

Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense;

myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:

A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

- Song of Solomon 4:13

1 comment:

Marsha said...

I love everyone of these pictures. They are now all saved as screensavers. Thank you!



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