A simple simile.  While some scents are not subtle, my husband’s endeavours to teach me the mysteries of wine aromas shows me how subtle they can be.  Even when not entirely elusive, they are hard to identify.  This scented simile is used to describe a delicate but astoundingly enduring piece of jewellery found in the sea, a late Bronze Age torc.  Enjoy the simile but also the story of a fine piece of craftsmanship that has endured for millennia.

‘The Shiant torc is not like that.  There is a simplicity and subtlety to it which perhaps means that it is not intended as a form of dominance. It is meant to decorate rather than to impress and would have graced the body which wore it.  One might even have taken a moment or wo to recognise that the person was wearing it. This is, in other words, a civilised and not a violent thing, as subtle as scent.’

See also a quote-rich mosaic review of this magnificent, entrancing book: a love letter to islands and a paean to the sea. 


Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 100

Photo credit: Alina Sofia at unsplash.com


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