Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
And so I take my final sips
amidst the papers, pen, and books
strewn about my thinking space, amidst
the groupings of fours and sixes
laughing within the steamed windows
of this warm spiced haven where
the company one keeps matters,
where the feelings that arise
are born of the deeper joys,
the lasting nourishment of friendships
wrought of a life shared as freely
as the coffee flows into mugs raised
to this simple glory.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
What I discovered, too, was that I understood this drawing together in terms of language...how a line break can add texture to a sentence or phrase, how the sounds of words sliding into one another or overlapping one another or contrasting with one another provide color, how encorporting environment into word choice brings poetry to where I am writing and extends my writing place onto the page or screen and into the space where the work is being read or received.
The other day I awoke ridiculously early and spent quite a while in the warm and permeable space bridging night and day. There, where ideas can be experienced with delicate intention, it occurred to me that flavors and ingredients are another medium for interpreting the pleasures of art and language...flavors can soothe, invite, pique, or intrigue...ingredients can harmonize or dominate, underline or intimate...
What and how I cook or write or what art I find pleasing is based on many things...working with what is available, sometimes...finding something that inspires, sometimes....the desire to stretch and try something new...caprice, the invitation of someone I trust, the need or desire of another, the motivation of God...
It seems to me that creativity, whether with paint, fabric, voice, pen, flavors...is perhaps another gently twining in-between place...a place that accepts feeling readily and allows the passion of its expression, a place where the yield can be shared to feed others, feed the self, feed the soul...
So too, and most readily of all, God accepts the intensity of my feeling and allows its expression, invites it, even...what else, then, is prayer?
Put another way, the discovery in an act of creativity leads to revelation... And what is revealed in the expression of the essential, however it is presented, but something of what I know and experience of God?
Sunday, January 13, 2013
My take on humility is that at its best, it is a steadying integration, a conscious center of gravity, and actually both emboldening and freeing. To accept that there is nothing, nothing, that can separate me from the love of God is astoundingly liberating to me. And to be able to accept it truly, for the gift it is, I need also know my capacity for causing hurt, for fearing, for turning from hope. I find that walking with the synergetic fullness of both of those realizations a humbling thing...it steadies me...motivates me to walk on, arms open to whatever is ahead, aware of both myself and God, fearing neither, loving both, grounded in holy reality.
This conversation came back to me in the kitchen about two hours ago while making lentil soup. Does it get more humble than a lentil? Alone, it is ordinary, simple, rather earthily neutral in taste...yet packed with healthy benefits and the potential to become much more. With the help of chicken broth, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, cumin, and tomatoes, individual lentils joined in purpose and became a flavorful meal for six.
With the help of God and of others, I too come to see a greater fullness of who I am called to be. I see what needs tempering, what needs complemented, what flavors I bring to a group, what I am capable of that I did not know before I was not only called to enter in and offer myself, but before I accepted, not knowing, uncertain, but hopeful.
There is no reason for a lentil to shirk the glory of its becoming. Nor any human.
(Image from www.treehugger.com)
Sunday, January 6, 2013
I spent the day preparing for guests who were going to join us for supper. Over the week I had decided on the menu...sort of a tapas approach...diverse, light-ish, with multiple textures, temperatures, and flavors. To that end, we began with crackers, carrot slices, hummus, and a hot feta/artichoke spread. After that was a warm and citrusy couscous salad with edamame, zucchini, mushrooms, pearled couscous cooked in orange juice and water, and a green onion/juice of a lemon and lime/pinch of salt/two of sugar/olive oil vinaigrette. Then, a crusty multigrain sourdough with a warmly spicy tomato soup. The cake, made by a community member, was angel food, a tradition for me, topped with a blop of whipped cream and diced strawberries.
There were those who wondered why I was making my own birthday dinner, as custom dictates that it is generated by other means. To be honest, it is the first time in my memory that I have been principle cook...but I knew it was what I wanted to do this year. I wanted to make a poem-meal to share.
The time in the kitchen was precious joy...feeling the edamames slip through my wet hands, giving an even thin slice to earthy zucchini, smacking open the treasure chest of a garlic clove with the flat of a knife, watching the emulsion magic of oil and acid uniting, swirling milk into the spice speckled red pool of tomatoes and chicken broth, freely editing tastes and textures throughout the process...all the while deeply content in knowing that this would be shared by others over laughter and conversation.
It would turn out that I was not the only one who had been planning a menu for this day. God too presented ingredients for me to consider in my hours of contemplative composition. The quiet joy of a developing friendship; the tender, understanding, words and love of an amazing friend thousands of miles away and as near as my heart; news received yesterday that needs time to find its place within me about a family member; the six and a half year old daughter of a cousin who was recenly speaking to her grandfather, my uncle, about the little tiny woman who lives in my pocket--a story I told her the last time I saw her--three years ago; the singing telegram another friend left me on my voicemail; cards received from people I love around the country and the world; the fond memories brought about by sipping bottled root beer while I stirred and sampled.
It was a beautiful coming together, those hours...history, present moment, future...acts of creation, acts of love...flow and challenge...the invitation to grow and appreciating the path already journeyed...silence and thanksgiving.
As we ate and shared in the different stanzas of our meal, our stories and the food itself began to come together as tastes sparked the syllables of memory and curiosity. Questions begat questions and bowls, plates, and glasses were refilled.
Thank you, God, for the life you have given me...precious, vulnerable, sometimes piquant, and always extraordinary.