Saturday, October 17, 2009

the essentials

I have, over the years, slowed down. You don’t notice it when it happens. One day, you’re flying between court cases and class teaching and restaurant baking and childcare and garden work and gutter cleaning and school newspaper editing and Nutcracker rehearsal schedules (because your kid is Clara and what a time suck that is!) and fresh and honest dinner cooking and and then suddenly, at some later date, you notice that, line by line, your list has grown shorter. Whited out over time. Down to three items. Four during the holiday season.

So that it hardly seems excessive that I should run now from one job to the other, plan dinner menus in advance, think about a post when riding the bus home. The days are, for the most part, orderly and I know that I have made them that way. By the time you’re in your upper fifties (56 is upper, isn’t it?), you have either given in to chaos or you have perfected order. I have perfected order.

Today, that order is pristine and solid. With Ed away, my day is stripped down to only these essentials: grade exams, work in shop, eat dinner, post on Ocean. That’s it.

I’m thinking -- as I wake up in that predawn hour of undefined light -- I’m thinking that I should add to it. And so, even though I have just made a Cousances pot (I have the old one, before Le Creuset bought the company) of roasted tomato soup, and hashed a truckload of brussel sprouts (with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and white wine), I want to go to the market. I want to stare at crates of produce. Because too soon, the market season will be over.

So this is what I leave for you: a morning (one of the last) at the Westside Community Market. As the sun breaks. And the pears come out of their purple shadows and the carrots and pumpkins show off their carotene pigments in the sudden burst of early light.