Students of chemistry like to say that distilling is beautiful.

It is a slow and silent occupation, which keeps you

busy but gives you time to think about other things.

It involves a metamorphosis from flowing liquid to invisible vapor,

and from this once again to liquid, but in this

double journey, up and down, purity is attained, an ambiguous

and fascinating condition, which starts with chemistry and goes far.

When you set about distilling, you acquire the consciousness of

repeating a ritual consecrated by the centuries, almost a religious

act, in which from imperfect material you obtain the spirit.


Paraphrases from The Periodic Table by Primo Levi.