Yoga Cat says: “Welcome Home. I will not leave your side for a single second no matter what you’re doing, Namaste.”
Today it’s far too cold to show you the myriad of outdoorsy goins on that got tackled over the weekend, so, as often is the case on these blistering March-is-certainly-coming-in-like-a-lion-clear-and-bright-and-face-hurtingly-cold days, I thought I’d turn inward and share a few little spots around the house that have been giving me pause with their loveliness. First, the orange-red tulips Miss Rav got for the kitchen, the primroses with the compass Mama just brought me (and necessary Rosebud salve) on my bedside table, and the littlest mortar and pestle, just waiting to grind up the cumin seed that lives in the bird jar.With spring on its way, the house is in too much (eternal?) chaos for room tours, but I do so love these little glimpses. More to come, every week I think.
Yes, those are my painted wood farmhouse floors. Yes, that is my pink poinsettia. Yes, they were both waiting for me when I returned to the country from the city this week. The floors have been here since 1890 or so, the poinsettia, since just last week, but my how I love them both. My mama has been getting me a pink poinsettia for my birthday every year, as long as I can remember, since before I wore a fur muff and a cape (like this) and took three very special friends to Richmond for a tea party and to see The Nutcracker (this was my deepest desire as a girl turning 8 and, frankly, that STILL sounds totally awesome). Also waiting for me upon my return, a parcel from dear McKay, with a new story (hers) and moon vine seeds to plant in the spring (mine), and a big ‘ole box from Jay and Katie Rose full of JARS (!! how well they know me) and, among other affirmations, this quote:
Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of 30.”- Robert Frost
Now, I realize that there may be a bit of a mid-century jibe lurking here, one about lying about your age, but that literally didn’t occur to me until just now… rather, I read it as something powerful, as if, at 30, a woman has a certain hard-earned-sense and now-finally-trusted-intuition and faith-in-the-weight-of-her-own-truth to slow down from the head-long gallop of 16, the jittery glitter of 21, and the loud, mouthy, wisdom of 25 and take a deep breath, at last, and be comfortable in quiet, in time, in her own skin. 30 years of living may not magically afford us the ability to weigh what we need and want and love and craft a life of purpose and beauty out of them, but I turn 30 on Sunday, and I’ll celebrate it at Home, with wood-smoke and family, with Sweetheart and music, with friends coming down from the cities and coming in from the farther-out-country mountain hollers, and with love. And fried chicken, oysters, and champagne. So.
So, I know this isn’t the best picture…. but I couldn’t NOT share jar system 1.0 with you! This is what I was doing at 1am with a glass of wine, happy as a little clam, when I should have probably either been sleeping or trying to locate any.other.pair of shoes in the packing melee besides these painted clogs that I’ve been wearing everywhere because they were inexplicably packed in the box with the jars and so got unpacked first (top priorities, people):I’ll be slipping these puppies on and heading down to Williamsburg today to get some Colonial style pine and magnolia and boxwood swag for my banisters (!) that my Ever-Lovin Mama ordered for me in anticipation for the simultaneous arrival of a) me here and b) Christmas everywhere. Merry Merry!
Oh My. What a time it’s been. One week after our arrival, I am now solo in this house. Sweetheart has gone back to Brooklyn to work and I’m here with the woodstove (which I am learning to master, stoking and banking with purposeful and beautiful and ancient tools, waking up to a bed of coals still gleaming after the long night) and the cat (whom no one will master, especially not Buster, who he met for the first time yesterday). In the intervening seven days, we settled, nested, unpacked, corralled, toasted with funky local cider and fancy champagne, cooked up a storm, danced in the kitchen, and in the midst of it all, hosted 18 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Hooo-eee! Sweet Family, together again, bringing laughter, stories, recipes, and a plant raised from clippings from the one my Great Grandmaw always kept in her kitchen, to be kept now in mine. Dear friends bringing pink bubbles and aprons and trout-sent-by-mail and the best dishwashing hands I’ve ever seen and smoked ducks and jars of apple pie moonshine and mandolins. And Loves, bearing burdens and brunts and just now taking a deep woodsmokey breath and settling down here in the dusky twilight, the night coming on cold and clear through the bare trees, the sun setting over our darkening field, our little house a bright jewel on the hill.Such a wealth of thanks. So much heart full and deep and almost beyond words. Home. And just like the third and final page of the localist paper: news, recipes, and crop reports to come.
It’s been a pretty big week for pizza (when is it not a big week for pizza?): we went to Grimaldi’s new location in an unspoken celebration of Ann Marie’s return to the East Coast, and today I’m leaving to meet my Mama to take a pizza making class as part of her ongoing JUBILEE celebration. We’ll stay with our town mouse friends, have much wine and lots of food, and generally make merry in the best of ways. On a related note, did you know that a standard baking stone is, like, $30? I’ve been under the illusion that they’re hundreds of dollars and that’s why I don’t have one. GET THEE TO A CHEF SUPPLY STORE! In love and pizza, have a wonderful weekend.
Grimaldi’s image from here.
So. I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath for the first time. Seeing as how it’s Sweetheart’s favorite book and taking into account how much I loved The Red Pony in my girlhood, East of Eden in James Dean-tickled high school, and Travels with Charley in my burgeoning, adventure-loving adulthood, I have no idea how it slipped through the cracks. But, oh my, it’s been a long time since a book tore my heart up like this, made me wistful and lonely, chest-full with beauty and loss, and angry over how little some things have changed. If you haven’t read it, the changing of the seasons is a good time, and if you have, then you’ll love these incredible Dorothea Lange photographs of the Dust Bowl Migration (from the really fabulous Oakland Museum Archives). Because you wish you could pick a guitar, it’s a gracious thing, because you walk for the family and hold your head straight for the family, because you get use’ to a place, gets use’ to a way of thinkin’ it’s hard to leave. Because home is the center but not the boundary of affection. Home.
Oh, hello. It’s been a bit since I’ve been here. Sweetheart and I arrived back in Brooklyn late last night, flash floods, lightning, and Hyundais with no headlights and Jersey plates changing lanes without signalling choking every feeding vein back into New York City, returning to the apartment to find a broken window, a few (dead) cockroaches on their backs in the living room, and a liquefied melon we’d forgotten to take with us. Oh my. To say we’ve been out adventuring is a bit too simple, adventures we’ve had for sure (I’ll share some soon!), but really, we’ve been out searching is more like it. You might could tell that I’ve been bitten by a pretty serious wanderlust this summer, an itch I’ve been doing my damndest to scratch with hot springs and sweet corn, headscarves, big dinners, and old, best friends, but it wasn’t until I got to my dear friend Jay’s house (the one he’s building from scratch with his own Sweetheart, embedding carved Buddhas into their poured concrete footings to protect and serve) that I got it. The heart of the matter: that I’ve been out wandering to find home. I’m not sure exactly where that is yet, honestly at this point it’s more of a feeling than a location, but I’ll keep you posted on my searches and adventures. Because home is where I want to be, pick me up and turn me round, this must be the place.
With a sigh, with a laugh, with a parking spot right in front of our apartment we returned home last night as the very late tendril of daylight savings light left our block. Rail weary, road hard, laden with burdens and gifts, sunburnt, bugbit, a bit heartsore, but happy: we are home.
This trip south was to celebrate living: one friend’s wedding, another’s birth, my small family taking each other’s hands to honor the what and why of everything that has come before and to keep on keeping on together into the thankful brilliant wonder of everything that lies ahead of us. Being home there and coming home here, I’m reminded of this little verse from Emily Dickinson that my Mama holds dear:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—