fragrance of camphor

Diana’s Daily Lines - “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone” (Book 9)

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #Book9 #NoItsNotDone #PutThePossibilityOutOfYourMind#AllInGoodTime #migraine

“Lie down,” I said firmly, and pointed to my lap.

“Nay, I’ll be f—“

“I don’t care whether you’re fine or not,” I said. “I said, lie down.”

“I’ve work to—“

“You’ll be flat on your face in another minute,” I said. “Lie. Down.”

He opened his mouth, but a spasm of pain made him shut his eyes, and he couldn’t locate any words with which to argue. He swallowed, opened his eyes, and sat down beside me, very gingerly. He was breathing slowly and shallowly, as though drawing a deep breath might make things worse.

I stood up, took his shoulders and turned him gently so I could reach his plait. I undid his ribbon and unraveled the thick strands of auburn hair. It still was mostly red, though soft white threads caught the light here and there.

“Down,” I said again, sitting and pulling his shoulders toward me. He moaned a little, but stopped resisting and lowered himself very slowly, ‘til his head rested heavy in my lap. I touched his face, my fingers feather-light on his skin, tracing the bones and hollows, temples and orbits, cheekbones and jaw. Then I slid my fingers into the soft mass of his hair, warm in my hands, and did the same to his scalp. He let out his breath, carefully, and I felt his body loosen, growing heavier as he relaxed.

“Where does it hurt?” I murmured, making very light circles round his temples with my thumbs. “Here?”

“Aye…but…” He put up a hand, blindly, and cupped it over his right eye. “It feels like an arrow—straight through into my brain.”

“Mmm.” I pressed my thumb gently round the bony orbit of the eye, and slid my other hand under his head, probing the base of his skull. I could feel the muscles knotted there, hard as walnuts under the skin. “Well, then.”

I took my hands away and he let his breath out.

“It won’t hurt,” I reassured him, reaching for the jar of blue ointment.

“It does hurt,” he said, and squinched his eyelids as a fresh spasm seized him.

“I know.” I unlidded the jar, but let it stand, the sharp fragrance of peppermint, camphor and green peppercorns scenting the air. “I’ll make it better.”

He didn’t make any reply, but settled himself as I began to massage the ointment gently into his neck, the base of his skull, the skin of his forehead and temples. I couldn’t use the ointment so close to his eye, but put a dab under his nose, and he took a slow, deep breath. I’d make a cool poultice for the eye when I’d finished. For now, though…

“Do you remember,” I said, my voice low and quiet. “Telling me once about visiting Bird Who Sings in the Morning? And how his mother came and combed your hair?”

“Aye,” he said, after a moment’s hesitation. “She said…she would comb the snakes from my hair.” Another hesitation. “She…did.”

Clearly he did remember—and so did I recall what he’d told me about it. How she’d gently combed his hair, over and over, while he told her—in a language she didn’t speak—the trouble in his heart. Guilt, distress…and the forgotten faces of the men he’d killed.

There is a spot, just where the zygomatic arch joins the maxilla, where the nerves are often inflamed and sensitive….yes, just there. I pressed my thumb gently up into the spot and he gasped and stiffened a little. I put my other hand on his shoulder.

“Shh. Breathe.”

His breath came with a small moan, but he did. I held the spot, pressing harder, moving my thumb just a little, and after a long moment, felt the spot warm and seem to melt under my touch. He felt it too, and his body relaxed again.

“Let me do that for you,” I said softly. The wooden comb he’d made me sat on the little table beside the jar of ointment. With one hand still on his shoulder, I picked it up.

“I…no, I dinna want…” But I was drawing the comb softly through his hair, the wooden teeth gentle against his skin. Over and over, very slowly.

I didn’t say anything for quite some time. He breathed. The light came in low now, the color of wildflower honey, and he was warm in my hands, the weight of him heavy in my lap.

“Tell me,” I said to him at last, in a whisper no louder than the breeze through the open window. “I don’t need to know, but you need to tell me. Say it in Gaelic, or Italian or German—some language I don’t understand, if that’s better. But say it.”

His breath came a little faster and he tightened, but I went on combing, in long, even strokes that swept over his head and laid his hair untangled in a soft, gleaming mass over my thigh. After a moment, he opened his eyes, dark and half-focused.

“Sassenach?” he said softly.


“I dinna ken any language that I think ye wouldna understand.”

He breathed once more, closed his eyes, and began haltingly to speak, his voice soft as the beating of my heart.

My personal recipe of incense

Today was incense making day! Since I got an ask from an anonymous person asking me how I make my incense, I will tell you a lil’ bit about it – actually, all about it, because it’s oh so easy!

I start by choosing the herb and resin I will combine to form my incense. I normally make it with one type of herb and resin only, cause I think it is easier to match the fragrances this way. The ones I am using here are a mix of french lavender buds with alfazema and frankincense resin. Those herbs are different species from the same genus, so they are close enough for me to put them together. (Alfazema’s fragrance resemble camphor a little bit, so if you think lavender smells really strong and sweet, try mixing both.)

After that, I put everything in my mortar, with 3 parts herbs for 1 part resin, and use the pestle to turn all of this into something like a powder – mugwort, for example, will not turn into powder even if you spend the rest of your life on this quest. The powder texture is not mandatory, you can make this work even with somewhat big fragments of herbs. I just think that it burns more evenly this way. Do not worry, try your best and work with the results!

With the mix of herbs and resin, you have two options: light a charcoal disc and sprinkle your mix over it or turn your mix into cone incense.

First option is pretty self-explanatory: grab your charcoal disc with some utensil (pincers, tweezers, pliers, you name it), put it close to fire and let it burn until it starts to get white on the surface. Then carefully put it into a fireproof container, sprinkle your mix on top of it and BAM! Loose incense burning! 

Second option is not that difficult: instead of burning the mix on top of the charcoal, you will put a bit of charcoal and a little bit of water onto your powdered incense to make a paste so you can mold it into cones and let it dry. When adding the charcoal, remember: more charcoal, more smoke, the incense will burn faster; less charcoal, less smoke, the incense will burn slower and you will probably have to light it more than once. Charcoal smoke can be really irritating to your nose, eyes, throat and lungs, so I do recommend using as little as possible. I personally add 1/8 of a charcoal disc for 4 teaspoons of incense powder. The amount of water should be just enough to make a paste easily moldable. Then take a ball of paste, mold it into a cone (I use my left thumb as a base and mold the ball using my right index and thumb) and let it dry. This can take from 2 days to 2 week, depending on the cone size that you make. After the waiting, don’t forget to only burn it on top of a fireproof container, and enjoy your homemade incense!

Extra tip: if you want to add more fragrance to your incense, you can always add a few drops of essential oil to it. Just do not overdo it: remember that the smell gets a lot stronger while burning!