Friday, December 28, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
In our house most of the cooking is done by Yours Truly. I enjoy the concrete creativity, patience, and ingenuity required to put a delicious, attractive, healthy meal on the table.
But in all the thousand and one days of cooking I have never made a pie. My husband makes pies. It is one of his Vocations: Master of Butter Crust. King of Sour Cherries Picked Fresh and Pitted by Hand. He inherited this talent from his most Honourable Mother, who is a pie-maker of great renown.
So for our house midsummer means making pies, and this year was no different. Except we have a new initiate into the Guild of Crust Rollers:
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Magnolias are perhaps my favorite trees. Magnolias of all kinds, though different strains of appeal to different parts of my soul. My summer soul loves the dark, rich rooms of the southern evergreen magnolia, with their heavy atmosphere and the regal stillness of their white petals.
But my spring soul, my joyful-after-midwest-winter soul loves the tulip magnolia.
When I was an undergraduate in Chicago there were two venerable specimens outside of the English department windows. They always seemed to be in full, exuberant bloom during finals week when I was surviving (or not) off ramen noodles and no sleep. As I wandered around campus with my Norton Anthology of Whatnot, mumbling Shakespeare or Spenser or Milton and trying to wrap my dim mind around Courtly Love or Incarnational language--there were the magnolias: quiet, lovely, untroubled by term papers or post-structural theory.
The magnolias--so brief. They hardly last a week in the best years. This year, so hot, was not the best year. The magnolias opened early and are dropping early. I saw them open for the first time in the darkness three days ago, and already the petals pool under the branches, turn brown when crushed.
The magnolias--so brief. I almost didn't want to look at them. Surely it would be easier to ignore their beauty, then I wouldn't suffer the loss of the beauty. I feel this way about so many things: babies, rain storms. Too difficult to stop and watch the beautiful thing. To difficult to see it.
"Humankind cannot bear too much reality," said T.S. Elliot. But what people don't understand, is that he wasn't talking about the suffering of children, natural disasters. He was talking about beauty. We cannot bear it.
Watching the magnolias this spring reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago. It's really about the southern magnolia, but perhaps appropriate here as well.
White within the shadow tree,
you open whole into a cool room,
your windows widen from the bud.
Magnolia, you never break—
no shards. Your pane will melt
like rain upon the autumn yard.
Magnolia, you never cry, your eyes open dry.
Your mouth is mute without a tongue
while choirs of mockingbirds lament.
Magnolia, you never sing,
your music is the odor,
oil between the branches.
Magnolia, you never stain, your pain
is only shadow turning blue.
Your skin will never tear.
My magnolia, the lips that hold you
and let go.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
This is our first "grown-up" purchase to date (excluding, of course, our gorgeous antique (i.e. reeediculously expensive) Chinese buffet which we bought while we were
Thomas More and Harriet trying out a Bentwood cafe chair.
Bridge at sunset. After shopping we ate at a delicious vegan restaurant off Summit.
And their metalic gold wall. I entertained Hattie by taking pictures of her and showing her the results on the little screen on the back of the camera.