My father would watch for changes in the way the light slanted across our dining room during my childhood breakfasts. You know the season has changed when the girls get on the bus in the dark. The coffee is done, dishes washed, email has been checked, and still the light is on over the kitchen table.
This morning in the kitchen the girls ate and talked while I made almond butter sandwiches for later. I suggested the potatoes which I had boiled up yesterday and left waiting in the fridge which led Billy to play a Little Jimmy Dickens song for them, Take a Cold Tater and Wait. He made them bacon and fried up the potatoes instead. Then it was late (6:50am) so they ran to get their teeth brushed and stopped short because the bus was already coming down the road.
after all that when it was light enough to see, the view from the sink
I noticed as soon as we step out of the car, back from vacation but I hated to mention it. Yes, those are red maple leaves that have begun to fall. And I wanted a wool sweater under my raincoat when I went out for a walk today. Tomatoes are plentiful; at least it is the right weather for canning.
Quiet day here with one girl away on a summer field trip. Got my work done in plenty of time for a walk, which turned into gardening, which turned into boiling a potato for supper.
I think tonight will be a good night for some gesso.
Little kids are always asking what my favorite this and that are and I always answer with a long list. I have a really hard time choosing. Today I decided I’m ready to commit to the blackberry. It is my favorite fruit. I am putting it above the fig, strawberry, Cortland apple, apricot, and plum.
I was sitting in the kitchen with sweat slowly trickling down my back and thought how ironic it was that while working in the garden I mostly think of winter. As I pick beans, I think, four people, twenty beans apiece, 250 -500 meals to get us through the cold months. One box should be ten meals. Another nine boxes in the freezer would be nice. Two minutes to steam. Then the cold bath with the ice cubes (lucky beans). They will be good with potatoes a few months from now.
Billy called me to come outside and I hesitated. I was just about to start working on this blog post and write about how the ideal of living in the moment may be a myth. But he said, “write it later when it is cooler, there is a breeze right now.”
Quite a strong breeze stirred up. We mostly stayed dry even with two girls and a sprinkler in our midst.
Under the trees I read a very nice letter from Billy’s sister. It included the wedding announcement of Frida Berrigan. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that after all these years she hasn’t strayed far from the girl I knew in Baltimore and I had to laugh because she still reminds me of my sister. I don’t usually read the wedding section of the NYTimes’s so I have nothing to compare. Are they always so lovely? How often is a bride quoted saying about her love, “This is the person I want to struggle with”? Because we all do struggle in our search for truth. Reading about the $10 suit the groom wore was a breath of fresh air.
Mostly today I am thinking of my dear friend Beth who is having her birthday in Afghanistan. I miss her. There is no getting around that. She knows as well as anyone what it means to plan for the next season.
When school gets out for the summer we head over to Knapp’s Farm in Preble to pick their organic strawberries. I think it was last year that my friend Beth and I stopped by to pick berries and found that they were closed for the season. Very disappointing. This spring I decided to plant our own patch but it takes a year to harvest so I was pretty happy to see the Knapp’s sign out on the road again this week. A very nice girl warned us upon arrival that the rain last week was hard on the berries and that we would have to look pretty carefully, and that did turn out to be true. We ran out of time before we could fill our last container but maybe it was just as well. The two green boxes were nearly eight dollars. We will have to savor the few we have this year. For anyone who is interested, there were lots of nearly ripe berries, so picking will be great by the weekend. Don’t forget to take containers.
So many reasons not to do this and yet here I am. Life is strangely wonderful and painful, but you know that already, I’m sure.
For a year we have waited for this moment and for a split second I think they may be too pretty to eat.