what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring–
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
We moved, from Brooklyn to Jersey City, where I don’t yet know where to buy fish or bread or meat or farmers’ market vegetables. But our apartment is finally set up, save one chifforobe, and I’m really proud of it–it has style–dare I say it is stylish?–and it is full, full, full of plants. (More on this in an upcoming post.)
I turn thirty today. I’m finally adopting the cat I’ve long wanted, and I spend hours in bed when I should be sleeping, googling possible names to the glowy light of my phone, to the bemusement of my husband.
I’ve been struggling with some health issues that, while not dire, feel like they’ve swallowed me up. I avoided writing for too long, so now I don’t know where to start, except to list the highlights. This is list writing, not actual writing.
We have a table that seats eight now, and dish ware and silverware to accommodate that many. I’m trying to lure groups for dinner with the promise of three-day ragu and cakes. Do you live in Jersey City? Do you want to be friends?
I’m trying to go for runs in Liberty State Park, which is very close to our apartment, and also very beautiful. I walked there through the snow this weekend, and it was peace personified in whiteout, in chips of ice floating in the canal, in the geese idling between lolling reeds.
For now, there’s too much percolating in my mind to be eloquent in this space. This is a cop out, I know it. In the meantime, read When Breath Becomes Air and also Astonish Me. Also, I’m not a beer person, but I recently discovered sour beers (thanks, Crissy and Ryan!), and maybe now I’m a beer person. I especially love Two Evil Geyser Gose at the moment.
Make some ice cream. It’s what I did. You won’t regret it.
The Frenchman’s been away since the hem of Monday morning. Almost a week alone has meant the submission of all leisure time to the alter of A Little Life, which I listen to on my commute in the morning, and again in snatches throughout the day when I should be working, and then all evening and night until I finally fall asleep way past my bedtime. It’s one of those books that takes over.
Presently we’re in a strange limbo: half our current–soon to be “old”–apartment is packed up. We’re selling off our furniture piecemeal. The new place has brand new shelves and wallpaper, but no bed. We leave for our honeymoon (in New Zealand!) on December 18th, so–somehow–we’ll find a way to wrap up our work projects, and haul our lives across the river before then. Right? Is there an alternative? I have a premonition I won’t take a deep breath until I’m on that plane.
And now something happy to listen to in the background while you brew this punch: I’ve long been a fan of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. In a recent episode, Linda Holmes interviews Trevor Noah. I enjoyed the interview a lot; it’s thoughtful, funny, and smart.
“Repotting a plant gives it space to grow. Repotting ourselves means taking leave of our everyday environments and walking into unfamiliar territory—of the heart, of the mind and of the spirit. It isn’t easy. The older we get, the more likely we are to have remained in the same place for some time. We stay because it’s secure. We know the boundaries and, inside of them, we feel safe. Our roots cling to the walls we have long known. But remaining inside can keep us from thriving. Indeed, without new experiences or ideas, we slowly grow more and more tightly bound, eventually turning into less vibrant versions of who we might have been.
Repotting means accepting that the way is forward, not back. It means realizing that we won’t again fit into our old shells. But that’s not failure. That’s living.”
In other news, I’m preparing for a few weeks of travel, first to Alaska (!) and then to France, where I will marry the Frenchman for the second time. I’m hugely looking forward to both trips, and will post about each in time.
Lately, on my hour-long commutes to work, I’ve been gobbling up books on tape. In the past few weeks, I’ve hungrily run through The Poisonwood Bible, Magonia, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I’m quickly reaching the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, narrated beautifully by Claire Danes, and I’m heartbroken about it. Do you have recommendations for what I should listen to next?
I’ve been scooping up berries with every visit to the market. (See here and here. Every morning they stain my white ceramic bowl shades of watercolor purple.) Normally I eat them barely adulterated–chilled cherries by the handful. But it’s nearly the end of July, and I haven’t sampled nearly enough ice cream this summer, and my machine was collecting dust. (I was relying on lazywoman’s ice cream.)
I tested two methods of raspberry ice cream-making. In the end, I decided to post both, because I couldn’t decide which I liked better. They’re just different. I offer my tasting notes below, but honestly, I found them both delicious. I hope you will too!
If you don’t have fruit brandy, you can substitute vodka. The idea is that the ice cream won’t freeze so solidly.
A grandfather is explaining to his grandson about the internal battles that every person will face in their life. He says that there are two wolves inside each one of us. One wolf is evil – full of anger, jealousy, regret, greed, and arrogance. The other wolf is good – filled with love, peace, forgiveness, and humility. So the boy asks, “Which wolf will win?” And the wise man replies, “The one you feed.”
– Two Wolves, a Cherokee legend
This salad benefits from some time to relax, time for the dressing to permeate the potatoes. (I like to overcook the potatoes, so they sort of fall apart in the vinaigrette, but that’s a personal preference.)
You can make this salad several hours before you serve it. (If you choose the egg version, make sure to refrigerate it in the interim.) You can easily double or triple the recipe, if you’re feeding a crowd. The salad is good for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
The arrival of garlic scapes at the market makes me Christmas morning happy–their appearance marks the start of a delugeofsummerproduce.
Garlic scapes are the green, curly cue shoots that grow from hardneck garlic plants, where flowers might otherwise sprout. Farmers cut away these scapes regardless, so that all growing energy is diverted to the garlic bulb growing underground. Scapes make for delicious eating on their own though, so they need not go to waste.
In the northeast, garlic scapes appear in June and July. Raw, they taste like a fresher, greener, less astringent version of mature garlic. Cooked, they have a garlicy, lemony-leek flavor.