Terroir‘ n. ter·​roir /ˌter-ˈwär/ /tɛrˈwɑr/ /tĕr-wär′/ the combination of factors including soil, climate, and sunlight that gives wine grapes their distinctive character. [French, land, country, stretch of land in reference to its agricultural features, from Old French tieroir, from Vulgar Latin *terratorium, alteration of Latin territorium]

Soil, Time, Conditions.

Spring 2020. The only thing we have control of at the moment is our immediate environment. Caring for it. Manipulating it. Coaxing it into a form that makes us feel that we have mastery over it. Loads of people have taken to baking sourdough bread- relishing in the “magic” that happens when they grow their own sourdough starters. Others have dedicated themselves to perfecting dalgona coffee – the ‘magic coffee’ that you whip up into a semi-solid state. The common theme is that we are spending time working to transform common ingredients in our homes- flour, water, sugar, coffee- into an unexpected or surprising result.

I am in lockdown on my land. Apart from cultivated gardens immediately around our house, it is wild land. In the past – hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago – it had been terraced to grow olives. The terraces fell and were taken over by a thicket – bushes, shrubs, vines- within which live insects, spiders, scorpions, birds, snakes and through which wild boar roam. During the daytime, it is our land; at night, it is theirs. I am not welcome. I am a trespasser. There is no comfort out there, only terror.

I have taken soil, worked it into a shining, smooth, solid sphere over several days. I have magically transformed dirt into rock, then placed it back where it came from to show my mastery over it.