Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The watch stops

That happens, right?

You are a bit like a watch yourself, very reliable. Until, apparently, you're not anymore - or at least that's the way it is with the watch.

One more time, one last time, you'll try to tell time differently.

And what about the watch? Nothing. It was a reminder of what you left before you left.

It cannot be fixed. Not this time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The morning after

The time has come, as it always does, to clean out the yard. Despite fatigue and cold, you clear it out. Leaves and bark and broken pieces of terra cotta and pine cones and who even knows what else. You make an impressive list of all that you find, all that you left for nature to deal with. Apparently nature needs more time than just one winter. Or maybe you didn't really leave things so that she could.

So you actually do the work that you do not like to do. Clearing the way. All things natural in a small pile under an ancient maple. All things unnatural disposed of. You relinquish a mess, a mess that you didn't even see as it piled up.

You do not awaken to an empty yard as you thought you would. It has become, overnight, a field of grace. A place where flowers you cannot name will grow.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh the places you'll go

Dessert now.

Cream, liquid and hot. Poured over dark broken pieces of chocolate. The cream is for texture and aspect, I do not want gloss. I want something to dive into, not see myself in. Wait, stir, taste, long for more. Don't we always? Sweet, when clear headed, begs for spice.

Cinnamon to show me how to recognize beauty in confusion, nutmeg to illustrate how sweetness must be layered, black pepper to teach me to always expect the unexpected, cloves to remind me to find balance - that more is not always better.

And salt, fleur-de-sel, flower of the salt. Salt that was hand-raked by someone who knows more about salt than I know about anything.

I peel an orange. Blood, by chance. Organic and pure. Its red not the color of blood but of a perfect Bourgogne, tales to tell in that shade that dances between lands.

Peeled and sliced, full of sweetly sour juice, covered with warm, spiced liquid chocolate. A dessert made to show me where I can go.

Friday, March 12, 2010

And so it begins

It began with onions, thinly sliced. Garlic too, three cloves. Pancetta, olive oil. Salt and then pepper. Chicken thighs, skin intact. A long pour from a bottle of Quincy, Loire bred. Things simmered. Too pale, too something, a few peeled tomatoes were needed. More salt, more pepper, herbs and spices.

We've all heard of a maƮtre saucier, a master of sauces, we've eaten his work, noticed, even, how he is too dependent on his skill. This leads him to ignore the basics on occasion. In mastery there is control, domination. His sauces make you forget what you're eating.

In the steam of my kitchen, I knew I did not want to master. I had had no recipe that night, only random ingredients and cold weather that made me want the comfort and warmth of a deep sauce.

I would not control, I would not dominate. Being a master is not for me. A mistress, however, that I could be.

Is she controlled, is she controlling? One can never really say. With a mistress, you never know who holds the power or if she even cares.

Rebirth that night, as every magical meal is.

But this one in particular. I had made many, countless even, sauces before. But this was different. I found myself.

A mistress of sauces.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The color of your chains

Gold is the one you pretend not to see, you ignore it most days, it's only the light you read by. Artificial but necessary for the tasks you've given yourself, so you think. You could live without it. Could actually live without it, but you pretend not to see that either.

Silver is the one you have named, although you call it something else. It is, in fact, a dog's leash. Long enough to let you think you can go anywhere. And you do, almost. But you're still on a leash. You forget that most days. Dog days.

Orange is the one you cannot live without. The orange of desire and promise and sour and sweet. Its links are an elaborate pattern of time and dream weaving in and out of purest hopes and darkest fears. You accept its presence but not its reasons.

You've grown accustomed to the weight and the sound of your chains.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

This too shall pass

So, you've been working with this architect. Nice, professional, competent, works for a huge firm. You hired him yourself, although you don't really remember the interview, you were so busy at that point. You must have been pretty vehement about what you wanted, or at least what you didn't want. You didn't pay much attention to the demolition crew, they moved in one by one and quietly.

Now you're in that uncomfortable phase, there is dust everywhere. Nothing looks like it did before. In fact, it doesn't look like much at all. You try to clean around it, which you hope will make it bearable but it doesn't.You try to imagine something beyond the mess that you're living in and you can't.

An artist's vision is required for situations like this. You are not an artist. You are just someone who was whimsical enough to hire an architect and give him free license to make something beautiful out of something that wasn't.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Give until it hurts

Donnant - donnant. Giving - giving. Used in situations where we would use give and take. Or tit for tat.

I have to say that I find it very interesting that the French express that concept in such a generous and optimistic way. And I only say that because they usually admit to being a glass-half-empty kind of culture. Sometimes I wonder if there wasn't a corner that led to the turn that led to the place they are now, a turn that required the loss of optimism. A revolution or something along those lines. Anyone who knows more about French history than me (that would be most people) - please feel free to name that corner.

And I wouldn't say that it's a selfish culture either. The S word is tossed around quite a bit - solidarity - but more as an accompaniment to hand gestures and grand theories than anything else. The fact is that solidarity is legally required here every day from nearly everyone, so spontaneous gestures of generosity are no longer commonplace. Which is not, of course, to say that French people aren't generous. Oh why oh why do I write posts that require qualifications and reassurances?

Anyway, giving and giving. I don't know. It just sounds a bit off. Is it very American of me to want it to be giving and getting?