We’re having a hot and lovely weekend, mostly — there is some eggshell-treading, after a volatile week. While Victoria spent the afternoon with an old friend, Violet, Eggmaster, and I went for a bike ride. We aren’t far from an on-ramp to the bicycles-only Midtown Greenway, which rolls along next to the railroad tracks, and between two of the lakes, and then onto a little shopping area, where we could stop at Whole Foods and pick up some goodies to bring to old friends’ house for dinner. Violet was ecstatic at the idea of cycling not just to tool around, but to run errands, putting our shopping bag in a milkcrate attached to my bike with bungee cords. My legs are feeling it today, but maybe by the next snowfall I’ll be stronger.
Many pangs of not quite sadness, but nostalgia and something more, as we pulled up in front of our old house to have dinner with our old neighbors. As we parked I felt I could just walk in the front door and be home. When our friends didn’t have enough of something, for a second I thought, “I’ll just run across the street and grab it.” I have not quite fully moved into the new house yet, almost 8 months later—my stuff is there, but not all of me. I like it, but it’s still my vacation home.
Today we went to the big city farmers’ market, instead of the tiny neighborhood one we went to last week. It was hot, and the kids were tired, but we managed some little pleasures. The girls had maple candy “just like Laura Ingalls” (those 4 words are enough to recommend anything to Victoria), and then we saw lovely leeks at reasonable (not supermarket) cost. I nearly passed them by, until Violet promised to make us leek pancakes, as she learned at a short Concordia Chinese overnight a few weeks ago. Tonight, however, Victoria and I have a special menu from her new gardening cook books. We’ve made mint syrup and started the “Strawberry Dream Cream” already — new potatoes, peas, and spinach-egg casserole to follow later tonight.
I allowed myself a treat too, a wonderful variegated leafy plant. I have no idea what it is, and Eggmaster had to ask the seller how much sun it needs. I’ve also made arrangements that he’ll water it. I am a black thumb — I cannot touch this plant, but I can still enjoy it.
I am reading lots and lots — Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies, Jack Kornfield’s A Path With Heart, Kathleen Norris’s Acedia and Me. I just love her — who knows what she is like in real life, but when I read her I think, “Ah, we’re just alike. She understands me perfectly. We’re walking a common path, and she is just enough ahead of me to shed a little light.”
She’s also a great finder of quotations. Here’s a nice one for the seekers among us:
Most people come to the Church by means the Church does not allow, else there would be no need their getting to her at all . . . The operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner, which creates much misunderstanding among the smug. — Flannery O’Connor
This is a poem from Lynn Park quoted in A Path with Heart. I can find no links to it, or the poet, anywhere, so here is the whole lovely thing:
Take the time to pray—
it is the sweet oil that eases the hinge into the garden
so the doorway can swing open easily.
You can always go there.
Consider yourself blessed.
These stones that break your bones
will build the altar of your love.
Your home is the garden.
Carry its odor, hidden in you, into the city.
Suddenly your enemies will buy seed packets
and fall to their knees to plant flowers
in the dirt by the road.
They’ll call you Friend
and honor your passing among them.
When asked, “Who was that?” they will say,
“Oh, that one has been beloved by us
since before time began.”
This from people who would have trampled over you
to maintain their advantage.
Give everything away except your garden,
Your worry, your fear, your small-mindedness.
Your garden can never be taken from you.