Fez is buzzing.
We jump into a car, the atmosphere is powdery, the light white, clammy, and we sit at the back of the seats. The scent of dust and muted heat, the landscapes pass by, red rocks and timid vegetation clinging to life at the cost of dryness and wind. Little by little, the Rif approaches, revealing its infinite horizons in a succession of ridges and valleys.
Then you climb and the green of the well-ordered olive trees is added to the palette. Time is suspended in the footsteps of the gentle donkeys and finally the lake, an immense and improbable sky mirror coiled in its undulating clay banks.
We discover the village of Kissane, the perched house and Souhad, smiling as she welcomes us into her oasis out of the mist. This slightly fantastical mist often envelops us and invites us to live with our senses awake to the rhythms of the Rif mountains.
The cries of the roosters, the flavour of the olives, msemen and tea, the simply delicious lunches in the garden and, of course, the meeting with Rahma and Rahma, the passers-on of knowledge from woman to woman.
As kneaders of materials, they teach us step by step; first the clay, then the shape and finally the colours. You have to mix mineral grog and creamy clay, then massage and find that perfect texture, ready for any idea. The words dry up and a sensuality awakens, all curves and roundness, infinite palpation and grainy texture under the fingers.
From day to day, dried, sanded and delicately painted with ochre or manganese, the clay will match the dreamed shapes and bring opposites together. Inside, there are all the elements of the outside world: water, earth, fire and wind, in a process that has been applied since the dawn of time. The air is thick with feverish excitement.
Without haste, the two Rahma gather the delicate pieces in a mixture of dried aloes, wood and dung cakes mixed with straw. The spark then the greedy purr that devours everything, the last fumes escape and the night comes to fill the wait.
Tomorrow, we'll know who has survived the test of fire in its entirety. With our eyes caught by the meticulous work of our hands or by the grandiose space, these few days will have been imbued with a magic full of laughter and song.
There was a before, and then the 'mefemmorphosis'.