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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…

salad days

Tiny hard flakes are catching the street lights. The three of us walk in short steps on the slippery sidewalk. I keep checking my watch thinking we will be late but of course we are thirty minutes early. E is excited, talking randomly about twins and magical worlds and ice cream all at once. N is quiet, her hand in mine in the cold air. 

The movie is the typical family film, edged with romance then a few moments when I find myself laughing out loud. E is giggling away, both hands over her mouth like a little mouse that has stolen a truckload of cheese. She whispers to me sometimes, in that loud child's voice that carries through the room. No one seems to care. She wants to know why a car driving away from a volcano gets covered in white ash. She wants to know what a letter says, as she only read part of it. She wants to know if this guy is the one who did the voice in that other film. She wants me to know that she knows the name of that actress. 


When it is over, and we are stretching slowly I watch both of them. N is checking for something in her purse. E is slapping her hat on, wrapping her scarf around her neck. I begin to realize how simple the night has been, how uneventful. This time last year there was screaming on telephones, drama, threats and the usual hysteria. E had a fever in the middle of it. I cannot say more, but would. It was a terrible way to begin the year.

I walk in-between them, each holding one of my hands. The street is white now, the cars slicing through the wet piles as they whip past. These are some salad days, I tell myself knowing full well there is nothing green around us. These are days when we can just be ourselves, enjoying simple pleasures, making pancakes and jokes at the kitchen table.




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