I have been less in the habit of sharing online through social media, and while I do not miss social media, I do miss sharing my little vignettes.

And so, I will get into the habit of sharing with close friends infrequent but hopefully satisfying tidings. I have sat down to write today on repair and incense. There is a cup of tea next to me resting on my iPhone. These devices work as wonderful coasters (perhaps their only practical use). They are water resistant and always at hand.

I was talking with a friend, who has been refurbishing homes in the English countryside, about his pleasure in fixing them up. It reminded me to take more seriously the mound of broken ceramics I own that need repair. I sent a coffee pot to a professional to be restored, but my own pieces that sorely need kintsugi sit in a dusty pile on my dining table. I can see the appeal of restoration: to fix something in a world filled with increasingly unfixable things. It is one of the few refuges where we can leave things better than how they were found. I do not think we ever own anything: we are custodians for them until they pass onto new hands.

Agarwood maintains a softness that suffuses the home and sits like a layer of plush sweetness in the air.
Tea being poured and a stand filled with apples and oranges.

I was burning sticks of agarwood incense earlier today. I had no expectations about how they would smell. Agarwood is one of those words you see circulating in old texts and always in luxurious settings. The tree that carries the name agarwood is infected by a mold (or fungus in artificial versions) and produces a resin in response to the infection. This is highly prized. It reminded me that “broken” tulips and noble rot in wine were also places where infection produced a superior item of unusual quality.

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Agarwood incense burning.

Agarwood has a fragrance unlike any other. It is soft and creamy with hints of vanilla and cherry. It is impossible to pin its fragrance against another, even as I try to grasp to memories of other scents. It balances the power of earthy musk and resin against the volatile and free scent of flowers and fruit. Even though true oud oil is derived from agarwood, perfumers fail to capture agarwood’s scent in perfume. Incense may be the best mechanism to experience it. When burning, agarwood maintains a softness that suffuses the home and sits like a layer of plush sweetness in the air. When I burn it, I am inclined to cover my eyes and ears to amplify the scent as much as possible.