14.05.2011 10.Ijar, 5771 Behar; Tag 25 des Omer
On her family farm in Moshav Lachish, Nitzan Sarig is reviving the ancient art of distilling rose oil; time is of the essence in the process, and the essence is absolutely intoxicating.
At 5 A.M., the moon is still high in the skies, looming over the Nahal Lachish riverbed. The heavens are a bewitching blue-black hue, hinting at the approaching dawn. Under the silver light, a field of blooming roses is discernible in the distance on the terraced slopes near the vineyard. Accompanied by three Vietnamese and Thai farmhands, Nitzan Sarig arrives at the crack of dawn to gather the daily crop. The roses, two subspecies of the famed damask rose (Rosa damascena ) family, will be distilled into oil. Time is of the absolute essence here. The light of the sun causes the pink buds to open and the precious – and preciously small amount – of oil in them then evaporates quickly. The optimal time for harvesting is just before dawn, when droplets of dew still cover the leaves and petals….