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Breathing the right air

Nothing brings more comfort than a bag of good things to cook, swinging under your arm as you make your way home. Somehow it blots out the rest of the world. In these moments, the entire universe consists of a late afternoon sun, a stray dog and a clump of flowers growing strange and wild in a yard. A hit of basil jumps from my elbows with each swing of the bag, a gift from one of the ladies I buy from the most. I visit markets without intention, just eyes open ready to discover fresh peas, or the first corn. Knowing that these products will disappear as quickly as they present themselves creates a certain form of excitement. Each season offers up this rhythm and without it I might become completely lost.

I think of when we were in Tuscany a month ago, feeling like such a tourist until I wandered out along the highway and found the local vegetable stand. I shoved squash blossoms and tiny tomatoes into a bag, rushing back to our room like I had robbed a bank. I made pasta with them th…

God moves on the water

Waiting for the other shoe to drop feels like a mantra for living here. There is no question if it will happen, only when the situation will become complete, realized, official. There has been snow, freezing wind coming up from the river and then the cool wet sidewalk returns. We are waiting for the ground to grow hard, the grey sooty piles of snow to hedge in on cars and sidewalks, giant sleeping hulks that go nowhere. The other shoe is not dropping, slapping into quicksand instead, dropping loose into a vacuum where the floorboards should be. 

It is maddening. 

The shopping center opposite that makeshift memorial caught on fire early one morning. It was not the first time I saw a sign somehow engulfed in flames here. The streets were full of camera crews, and a stream of water churned from the parking garage entrance. I had eggs and milk and coffee slung across my shoulder, and could not see if there was a way to pass everyone. I stood right on the spot where the blood and roses caught my attention. It felt like a nexus, a tight spiral of coincidence but without any meaning I could unravel. 

I smelled burning plastic, as clouds choked the dark morning sky. 

A whole turkey was found at rinok, the same as last year. I carried it proudly, heavy as a bag of cinder blocks. The holiday means nothing here, just a random thursday to most. I took E home from school as soon as classes ended. We cracked eggs and tore bread into tiny pieces for the stuffing. She tried to peel some carrots but it was still too hard for her tiny hands. She tasted the cranberry sauce that had been bubbling on the stove for some hours and pronounced it was just sour enough. I steamed pumpkin with fresh grated ginger, stirring and softening and reducing it to a baby-food mush before it became part of the pie. 
"I am making a thankful toast this year." She announced at one point. 
I kissed the top of her head. 

N came home with red cheeks, stalking into the kitchen to nibble the corners of whatever was cooked already, her face a series of approvals. She set the table, put out the good candlesticks, washed the pots and pans I was done with. 
"Put some music on." E said in a big voice.
I put on Charlie Parr for some reason, his version of God Moves on the Water
"This is about the Titanic." I tell E. 
"I know Pop." She says, rolling her eyes. "You already told me."

          A.G. Smith, mighty man
          built a boat that he couldn't understand
          Named it a name of God in a tin, without a "c"
          Lord, he pulled it in
          God moves 
          God moves
          and the people had to run and pray


liv said…
Gosh, it seems like it was just winter there a couple of months ago. In a sense - it must always feel like winter there.

Turkey, cranberries, music and loved ones - sounds good. Be warm, all.

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