5:55 A. M., I sat, pre-dawn, with my morning coffee. I could hear the wind in the trees, but I could not see the leaves, the branches. Later, minutes later, I began to make out rough shapes against a lightening sky. The approach of day is slow and welcome.
Attila rises at 5:30 A.M. each and every day of the week. He sets about his preparations for a long day, relying more on routine than thought to take him where he wants to go. I watch him with affection. I occasionally insert myself into his trajectory with an anecdote or question, keeping his attention for only a few precious minutes. To hold him longer would be to disrupt his momentum.
As the light approaches, Attila recedes into his day of obligations. These days pass quickly for him, as they are filled with people and hectic activity. He enjoys his work.
I remember a time when I faced that daily climb into the outside world, and welcomed it. I too loved my work.
I wish I had had me to come home to in those days. My working years included the sole responsibility of two precocious children, who never seemed to receive quite enough of my attention, although they had all there was to give. I wonder how I did it, then think, "I would rather not remember those costs."
My mantra, during those years balanced on the high wire, was, "Do not look down!"
But my children called to me from the heart of their little lives, I looked down, and I fell. And here I am, years later.
At times the hand of fate is invisibly kind.
I have been keeping an eye on the scraps of basil left over from Pesto making. All the flowers and wilted leaves, unsuitable for the Pesto, were saved and laid out in pans to dry. Each day I toss them about, redistributing them to aid the drying process. Today they seem adequately dried and I shall subject them to the blades of the food processor and store them as a finely ground herb to season the winter's dishes.
Yesterday was a busy day in the kitchen, as is often the case during harvest season. The last of the pears have been peeled, sliced, and frozen for future baking projects. The last of the peaches have been transformed into a Peach Upside Down Cake, the dessert Attila likes so much for his lunches. I am eyeing the basket of plums in the refrigerator. Perhaps it is time to search for a new and interesting plum recipe, in order to use these while they are still fresh and sweet; a project for today.
Attila brings home much of the produce we put down for the winter. Generous, friendly farmers frequently give him "seconds" and "wind falls". This fruit would otherwise be discarded. It is imperfectly shaped, visually marred. It provides us with a wealth of healthy, delicious food for the price of our labor.
At this time of year I sometimes remember a conversation I had with a professional woman at the university, many years ago. It was a dialogue that seemed completely trivial at the time, but over time has come to symbolize several issues I have struggled with. She was making a stand for women's rights by refusing to bake the pie her male partner desired. Interested, I pursued the statement.
I asked her, "You do not like pie?"
"Oh yes," she said, "I love pie, but why should I bake one just because I am a woman?"
"Will your partner bake the pie?" I asked.
"No, he claims he does not know how!" she answered.
"Do you know how to bake a pie?" I asked.
"Yes, and I told him to buy a pie if he wants one so badly" she answered.
I felt gratitude that I was not encumbered with a relationship where food was defined as a power issue. It was impossible to determine, from my vantage point; just who in their relationship had defined the issue of "pie" as one of power. I did observe that both partners in that relationship accepted the issue of "pie" as one of power.
I remember feeling thankful that I bake pies for myself because I like pies, and I like my own baking best.
Years later I would think of this conversation again when my friend Auntie Mame said of relationships, "Better the right kind of nothing, than the wrong kind of something."
|RECIPES :: Cast
By the Easy Chair
The Road Taken
by Rona Jaffe
Motors, the neighbors are draining their swimming pool today.
On the Screen
Plum Recipes and more Plum Recipes
8:18 AM DST
Temp: 14` C
Wind: W 13 km/h
Sunrise 7:14 AM DST
Sunset 7:18 PM DST
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