Buddhism · Cooking · Magic · Musings · Nature · Photos · Pirates · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

Slow Cooking

Iron Ore

There is this kind of perfection in cooking.  The slow kind.  Yesterday I used the food processor, something I would have never bought for myself, because there is a zen quality, a peaceful quality, a hands in and hands on kind of quality to carefully cutting the vegetables.  I love this.  This act of cooking.  I understand the purpose of a sous chef, but I love the act of creating the food from the beginning to the end.  But today, the processor does the stalks of celery in seconds, the onions sliced, I pour them out onto the cutting board and chop them into small pieces.  Saute the veggies in butter.  I do not have any sage.  I call and ask if anyone has it.  No.  I am not yet fully here in this household.  Several minutes later, I have a brand new container of sage in my hands, delivered to my door, via the grocery store.  And I cook it all on a stove I could never have imagined owning, it shines brand new in the kitchen, they went out to get it, so I could bake properly for Thanksgiving.  I open the windows and bake nothing for the first time, as directed in the manual.

For this new family I feel a deep sense of gratitude.

In the morning, I wake early, to the crispy frosted grass and leaves.  The sun is shining and the day promises to be warm.  I raise my arms up and stretch in the brisk air.  Lovely day.  Lovely day.  There are no shortcuts for pie crust.  I put on Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, the heavenly choir fills the air.  The dog comes to me and rests his head on my knee.  I look into his eyes, he is almost smiling as he “hugs” me in his doggie way.  He does this at least two more times over the course of the morning, though I am regularly admonishing him to get out of the kitchen.  And as I mix the egg and ice water into the flour and butter, I feel a sense of something, I do not know what, it is profound though, and I savor it.  I cannot name it.

For this beautiful animal and his unconditional love, I feel so very thankful.


He comes in from hunting, smiling, cheerful.  Last night I said to him, in the hot tub, that he was clearly miserable, so clearly not happy with me living in this place with him, that I just didn’t know what we were doing.  He said, I have always been miserable, but with you here, I am this much more happy than I was before.  He holds his hands apart like the fish that got away.  Later I tell him, thank you for telling me that, he pulls me down on top of him and kisses me.  Later still he comes into the living room and places a big plate of sliced apples on the coffee table, but not in front of himself, but off to the side.  I look at him, into those stunning green hazel eyes, he smiles.  I get off the awful chair and sit beside him.  We should bring that small couch in here, he says, it is a good snuggle couch, and put that chair in the office.  Okay, I say.  I would like that.  I go from one house to another, my side dishes and dessert a hit, and get containers for the remains of dinner, when I come in they are talking about rings, and cruises to Alaska.  They change the subject upon my entrance, but not quickly, slowly as though to tell me something.  Later I show him my board of pins, ‘for the wedding I will never have”.  He laughs.  But he is quiet too.  I don’t know, honestly, if we will ever go there, but I know at the very least, I have his love, and he is my very best friend.

For this man, who is difficult, moody, miserable, and sometimes positively awful, I am so very thankful.

She comes to the door without being announced, he lets her in.  She sits in her favorite chair, the cats come to her to cuddle, the dog sits beside her.  I pour her a beverage, it is kind of fun to have a drink with my baby, though she is not a heavy drinker, and I have water.  After he goes to bed we tickle each others backs, a multi-generational ritual of affection, that I have not had the pleasure of in months.  After, I tell her come here, and she cuddles me like she did when she was little.  It’s hard huh?  I ask.  She nods her head as she sucks her two fingers.  Harder than you thought, isn’t it?  She nods her head more vigorously.  But, she says, it is so worth it.  I know, I say, and it will get better if you are prepared to work your ass off.  I fall asleep while we are watching reruns of NCIS, she nudges me awake, come on Momma, she says.  Do you want to drive your car home, I ask her, as she gets in the car I have not owned long, but is now hers, minus, for the moment, the title and registration.  Yeah, I do, she says.  I feel butterflies in my stomach, as I realize that I am still being the fearful mom, but she has got the driving thing down.  It is my tension, not her maturity that is the problem in this moment.  Its a good car I tell her.  It is a grown up car she says, I see now the truck wasn’t a grown up car, but this car, is a car for a grown up.

I am so very grateful for this child, though she is now an adult, most of the time, she has brought me so much joy, so much worry, so much love, so much angst.

It is late, but I started to straighten the house as we watched TV together, folding blankets, sorting junk mail from bills, organizing my side table, preparing the dishes to be washed.  I come into the dark quiet house.  I notice how the house looks better day by day, than it did when I moved in. The gorgeous hardwood floors hidden under a horrible cream Berber carpet.  The organized area where the shoes were, the cheap cruddy looking throw rugs gone, the kitchen de-cluttered, and more open, my belongings scattered throughout the house, in spots here, and there.  I wash the dishes, clean the bit of pie off the bottom of the new oven, note the work to be done, the rugs in the kitchen need a wipe down, the wallpaper torn off and a pale blue wall added, the out dated light fixture moved to the middle and replaced with something a bit more modern, simple fixes.  Small steps.

For this house, which I live in, for all intents and purposes, for free, I cannot even tell you how unimaginably thankful I am, for the halved work, for the beautiful space to paint in, sunny, airy, open and the warmth of a wood stove to make it a four season room, for the deer that are in the yard, for the hot tub, for the bird feeders in the lawn, that he loves as much as I, for the herbs and vegetables he has planted, for the sanctuary of my own room, for the slate rock patio, for the sunny front steps, that cured a recent bout of the stomach flu, 36 hours into it (first time I have been viral sick with more than just a cold in literally four years), for his willingness to help me make it the kind of home I want to live in, though it takes a great deal of dragging, for all of this…I am humbled.  So grateful.

And for the love of my family, my friends, my Mom, whose birthday was today, for my students, and the cats, and their conditional love and occasional affection, I am full of gratitude.

And there is that feeling, as I clean up my room, organizing my jewelry, I stop and notice it.  What is that?  I ask.  I notice it, this ordeal, I think, has been divine in its making.  Long did I think it in the dark hours, with all the weird things, the odd coincidences,  divine.  I have hated it, and I was destroyed by it, but it had to be, didn’t it?  Divine?  And as the things happen, as I get further and further away from it, it feels divine.  As I sit, at a desk, waiting for my new vehicle to be prepared, this song comes on, and I stop, I listen to every word of it.  I cannot believe that only a few months before he left me, he played this song for me, sending it to me by phone, from the concert we were watching.  I listen to it, for the first time, with a kind of passive acknowledgment, why would this be playing, here, now, when I realized this morning, that this is perhaps one of the last steps in the letting go of what I had lost.  I am grateful for the gifts of things I wouldn’t have without it.  And there are good things I carried out of it, for sure, but the greatest gift of all, is how much better my life has become with the after.

In the cool night air, I stand, same place I stood as the sun was rising, and I look up to a blanket of stars, and there, staring me in the face is the constellation Orion.  I thought I was free from it here.  But I see, it will never be wholly gone.

It is like the act of cooking, it is the process, the act of being whole and present, and putting your self into each moment.  They say I am a good cook, but it is the love of the act that makes it so.  The wholesome ingredients, the small bits of knowledge, the years of experience, the immense failures taken as lessons, the lack of attention resulting in burned ruins, the pleasure of sharing the meal, and of partaking in a meal alone.

For this life, I am grateful, deeply, profoundly.

Thank you for destroying me, because by that act, you have made me whole.

I loved you, I love you still, and I always will.

I am sorry I was hateful and so terribly angry when you left, see what happened was, that I made the mistake of following you, into the dark.

For the path I made out of this darkness, I am so very grateful.  For this new life, of my creation, I am so very grateful.

The fire here, is set on simmer, and the meal promises to be good.

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.” ~ Rumi

Snail Shell, or “Life Continues – Profoundly, Beautifully”
Changing Seasons · Climate Change · Nature · Photos

I am posting this for a fellow blogger friend who has been gracious enough to give me two blog awards for my other blog.  I am filled with gratitude!  Yesterday she posted a picture of a rare plant which she called istanbulensis which I discovered is a variety of crocus, I knew it was because the minute I saw it I said, why that is a crocus, and wikipedia confirmed it. So these pictures are for her, and to remind myself next spring when the crocus bloomed.  Today it is so warm out that after I took these photos I immediately ran in and opened all the windows on the front and south facing side of the house.  The whole entire week is promising temperatures in the high sixties the lowest being 53 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday which will be a full ten degrees above normal for this time of year.  Weird weather year.

Crocus in bloom

Yellow Crocus

Please visit Nia’s blog at http://photographyofnia.com/


Musings · Nature · Strong Woman · Zen Buddhism

The Constellation Orion

It is high blood pressure that has me out here, that and the still damp corners of my flannel sheets, fresh from the crisp night air, soon to be warm from the dryer.  I look up and I see Orion, the hunter.  His tell tale pattern of stars as though a cookie cutter in the sky.  I once told drunk boy that there would always be the moon watching over him.  Once many years ago, when I still believed in magic.  I guess sometimes I still do.  And once I believed that Orion looked down on you.  The true hunter takes my now warm hand in his and holds me with a firm strength.  I feel safe there, in its presence, but away from it, I am still the naked child, shivering uncontrollably, I have always been vulnerable, it is not a weakness, but a strength, it makes my heart strong, my spirit brave, and my mind keen.  Did Orion once watch over two dreamers?  The greatest mistake?  Only one thought it was for as long as the stars shone.  I see it and for the first time in some long months it does not fill me with heart ache.  I know when you see it you will think of me, whether you wish to, or not.  You cannot help yourself.  Orion, for me is transformed, into flesh and blood and sparkling eyes.

I say sometimes I need you to take care of me, and he says gentle, with a voice of emotion.  I will take care of you.  I will.  You never really did.

I ask for little really in this world.  I work hard to care for myself, and my own.  I am like the fierce hunter, only I hold solid to the trees that anchor this land, they are my walking sticks.  I am firm in my resolve, I keep my word, I stand strong by the ethics which bind me for their own reasons, not because they were handed to me on flimsy paper, and I followed their instructions to the letter.  I am smarter than that, I am smarter than what you replaced me with, too, all that says, is that you are a fool.  I am the huntress.  I look down on the blanket of earth beneath me, and I see your shadow lurking, you do not shine in the star lit night, like a rat you have scampered in the alleys.  The rat, said Roshi, fell into the boat, NOW WHAT?  Now, what.  I raise my hand and point my fingers, bang, you are dead.  And I, I am alive.  And here in this place, is perfection, glued together heart, and crisp starlit night.  I bow to you Orion, in sacred gratitude.

All I asked for, and more.


Birds · Musings

Morning Constitutional

I wake after nearly 11 hours of sleep.  It is early and all I want to do is walk.  I consider for a moment going to Clark, but it is ruined for me, I hate that it is ruined for me.  I want to take it back.  I wish she would just leave me alone.  I also look at the sky and it is going to rain, it may even rain before I get back.  I put on my all terrain sandals and I am off.  The dog is thrilled to be walking so early.  The birds are out everywhere, landing on the path in front of me and hopping along.  The geese and their babies are in the water at the park as well as about 15 mallard males with only two females.  Curious.  I stand and watch them swimming in the still water.  One male goose standing watch on the shore ready to come at us if necessary.  A couple days ago he ran towards us wings extended and hissed.  I hissed back, which made him cock his head to one side, but he didn’t back down.  I kept walking.  I am working at letting go right now.  Working at letting life comes as it comes, even if it means it rains when I want to be at an outdoor festival.  And am bored sitting at a bar drinking.  I turn to my friend who is in the midst of lying to someone on her phone about something.  I am bored I say I want to go home.  I sometimes hate that I am so ethical.  Isn’t it easier I say to her, to just tell the truth?  No she says it isn’t.  My daughter says well you were in this place (in the throes of a divorce) a couple years ago Mom, it’s your chance to give back.  But I say, what if she lies to me too?  And I say, I know but I won’t ever be able to just sit at a bar and be pleased to watch someone texting, rather than interacting.  I cannot do it I say, I need mental stimulation.  I don’t like bars that much and I like having a few drinks, but not really sitting at a bar doing nothing but drinking.  I go to bed, pull the covers over my head, and maybe for a moment I allow a few tears out, its been months.

After the walk I make myself some fried eggs and soy sausage and take my coffee out on the front steps.  There is the beginnings of drizzle, but the steps are dry and it is not much of a drizzle.  I watch as a bumble bee tries to get pollen from the Beards-tongue flowers, before a raindrop hits him and he flies off.  My former boss and mentor comes walking around the corner and I invite her for coffee, she declines but we hug and she sits with me for a bit on the steps, until the drizzle turns to a sprinkle.  I think after she leaves I should have offered to loan her my umbrella.

It is now rainy and crappy, central New York kind of day.  A good day perhaps to be creative.  Every minute of every day is like a prayer, and every work of art I make, is a gift to the divine.  Every second of every day is a gift from the divine.  I know this, but sometimes, and only sometimes, I find my heart is aching for something more.  I wait.  Perhaps something is just around the corner.  I let go, just in case nothing is.