Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dance with Necessity


Butter and flour and milk and broth. White sauce the old-fashioned way. Chicken over egg noodles just like we used to make it on the farm if you don't count the jar of gourmet fire-roasted red peppers, and the dash of poultry seasoning I learned how to chop and mix and dry myself. Chop and mix, stir and taste. Sipping a honey lager that glows golden on the counter. Boards of Canada on the stereo, night deepening outside as Vancouver joggers flish-flash past, as lights go on over the bridge, creating the shimmering view from the side streets.

There is comfort in this: chop and mix, stir and taste. Simmer and cover. Wipe and sweep and adjust the burner. I find myself smoothing the over-worked, inflammed passageways of my mind as I chop and mix, stir and taste. Like the shuddering subsiding of sobs into peace, the unanswered questions, the grating doubts, the baggage of the day and the week and the years, subsides in the kitchen's warm light.

Afterwards, there will be the pool of lamp's light and the pages to write in. The questions will emerge again from the evening's shadows, but less threatening than in the noonday glare, tamed by the affirmation of life that is this: chop and mix, stir and taste.

For unto the day is the evil sufficient. For this moment we need to nourish. For at this time we re-affirm that this matters, the nuance of two dashes of pepper or three, the flick of the whisk, the curl of white milk into the savory golden pan. This matters and is beautiful, as does and as is everyone around the table, whether a dozen familiar faces, or my own blurry reflection in the darkened window pane. Feed and be fed. Love and be loved. Move to the necessities of life with no grudge, but with grace. Allow the routine to heal you, the bathing of time -- often so annoying in its demands. The repetition, the turn and turn again, becomes a dance of acceptance. A waltz with necessity, but with gratefulness.

Chop and mix, stir and taste. For this thy bounty, we thank you.

8 comments:

letterbyletter said...

Well spoken, Veronica.

I think what you're expressing is one of the chief reasons why I love to cook. My hands are engaged in a ritual they know well, while my mind is free to meander through thoughts and ideas without exacting analysis.

Jimmy said...

Bravo!

amanda + daniel said...

This is the most beautiful thing I have read in a long time! I think I need to print it out & read it over, not on a computer screen, but on a breezy cambodian porch, also at twilight.

i love that you were listening to board of canada-it paints such a picture of the atmosphere!

thomas said...

I think is part of the challenge of our 21st century life - attempting to transform the routine into healing ritual rather than grinding repitition, breathing some incarnation into the everyday. Your words speak to this very well.

Also, I will be blogging again, soon (I think). I have some new ideas I'm working on, but just need to put them into action.

Jim Boraas said...

I think the lolli-pop in the extreme foreground really rounds this one out nicely.

Zack said...

I dunno, cooking tends to create more anxieties for me than it solves...

Anonymous said...

I love this. The 'turn and turn again', the 'waltz with necessity'. So well put, Veronica! -- Katherine

Rebecca said...

you are lovely! For some reason, moving to Kabul has caused me to read your blog voraciously....a tribute to you friend, that your thoughts seem so fitting half a world away.