That day, that birthday day was as precious and delicate as an iris bloom. Or two. With ruffled petals.
April 21st, late afternoon. Classes end, my older girl steps off the Chicago bus and life turns idle and idyllic and really quite rosy pink and beautiful.
We stop for a champagne pomegranate cocktail at the Fresca bar and it strikes us as absurd that we should not eat something, even as we are in anticipation of dinner. Birthdays, after all, are about opening up the palate, about using food to nourish and replenish and make us whole after a long season of too few evenings around a table with people we love.
On, then, to Porta Alba, the only authentic Neapolitan pizza place for scores of miles... And isn't it just so typical to go to a known pizza place and not have pizza at all. We have such odd, albeit predictable habits...
I can tell you about the various pasta + seafood combinations I have eaten in my lifetime – and that lifetime is now remarkably long, particularly when I recall that in my teens I worried about not making it past the end of my forties.
The dish at Porta Alba is on the simple side, and that suits me so well on this beautiful night. No fuss. Simplicity.
Ed joins us, wet from his evening bike ride (it rained south of Madison, but I know nothing about rain – it has been brilliantly sunny all week long in my home town).
There is a pause in the birthday-centered evening, as I do have to close the shop where I sometimes put in late evening hours, but it is an okay interlude. Work does not always disrupt the quiet joys of a celebration.
And finally, at home, my girl brings out a wonderful almond cake from Natalina’s in Chicago.
And we all stay awake until the last forkful. Remarkable.
Today? Well, you might conclude that time messes with prior use. That the season toddles forth and the winds move wisps of clouds in, then out again, and it is still April after all, and thus not so hot outside.
But why make that argument? After all, the outside world right now is a beautiful one indeed, a slight nip in the air notwithstanding. The early evening walk to reclaim the last of the winter CSA spinach is absolutely magnificent.
I'll end, as always these days, with a few photos of flowers from that walk home. And what flowers they are! Nothing can compete with the exuberance of this year's spring blossoms. Absolutely nothing.