Sunday, July 08, 2007

At Home

Recently in my various writing attempts (some of which have not appeared here) I’ve been focusing on the death and despair I feel on the streets and in the general atmosphere around my place here in the upper breaks of poverty and humanity oozing like flesh over tightly cinched waists. But there are some things in this environment whose appreciation does not require mourning and a filtered gaze.

Like today when four of our favorite people came over to our place to help us with what has become a Saturday morning ritual: going to the local farmer’s market, where we smell, look at, and otherwise possess things pulled from the soil only this morning. Radishes which still hold some life; rather than the decomposing, dented red carcasses from Arizona available at our local “super”market. We make salads with those radishes and some fresh lettuce from upstate New York and a bit of cheese brought to us by some Amish Schlabachs from Ohio the other day and it is good. Things cost more, but somehow buying things cultivated by the hands that hand them to us seems to make it seem all right; even to a Bargain Hunting Mennonite. Maybe all those hated hours spent barefoot in the garden with Mom growing up in Ohio were more habit-forming than all those hours at “the mall,” Gabriel Brothers, and other fantastic stores of thrift and identity construction where things are made to be bought because of what they signify rather than their use-value. That and maybe the influence of people like Barbara Kingsolver, Bill McKibben, Annie Dillard, Michael Pollan, and Terry Tempest Williams.

On Saturday mornings like this the man across the street sleeps in and forgets to blast his ghetto music at us, the mustached Irish men at the little deli with the antique cash register by the subway station open early are already arguing with each other happily, more often than not the sun is slanted just right to make the sky a deep limitless blue, the corner restaurant by the green market fills the air with the smell of bacon, and if Harlan, Marilyn, Eve and the other stubborn little girl conceived a few months ago come over Harlan and I talk politics and $300 hair cuts while passersby comment on the essential Germanness of Harlan's stroller and the cuteness of Eve.

Days like this give us an excuse to clean the house not so well but really quickly and the chance to try some new recipes for soup or Thai curry to go with our fresh bread, cheese, and salad and the apple cider we always buy and the flan I just made too with some fresh raspberries. Mixing together ingredients like these properly and sharing them with people I love fills me with a deep feeling of integrity. It makes me happy to be alive here; happy like a guitar in the hands of the guy who plays flamenco at the 116th street 1 train station on weekday mornings.


Blogger Marilyn said...

yup. those certainly r pleasant saturday mornings.

4:52 AM  

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