Friday, March 12, 2010
The Little Things
Some dear friends and I were bantering earlier in the week about the things that we would treat ourselves to if money were no object...the things we would indulge in once the initial flurry of excitement and spending gave way to the less obvious desires...the little things...the things we need to feel secure.
The first thing that I keep coming back to is full pantry, to have sacks of flour and sugar, canisters of pasta and beans, sparkling glass jars filled with ripe tomatoes...a cabinet fill of herbs, spices, and fine vanilla. A well stocked larder makes me feel safe, secure, well grounded.
With my family's hunger assuaged, my mind turns to warmth. To have a huge stone hearth with a blazing fire would be bliss. I would place a comfortable chair next to it, and a basket at my feet with a few nubby yarns from my collection, and I would knit away the rest of the winter chill and tuck away the woolen offerings until the blistering waves of summer had softened to a crisp fall breeze that tousles the leaves along the street.
But until then, I would wile away the summer in my garden. Tomatoes, potatoes, beans, squash, lettuce, cabbage...an orchard...berries...followed by weeks of slicing, blanching, canning, freezing, and jam-making... Hour upon hour spent in a sunny kitchen, capturing the warmth and vibrance of summer...talking to a few trusted souls who would join me in my task. Sharing those nearly forgotten stories that were once passed on to me, making them a part of another's soul before the story was lost forever to time, trying to harness every last detail that washes up, like a message in a bottle, from the corner of my mind that is always eight years old and sitting eagerly at my great-grandmother's knee.
As I write this, I can almost smell her house, almost taste the blackberries that grew at the base of her clothes line, but as I try to hold on the memory it dissolves like a dream not quite remembered.
Mostly I would want more time...time to chase the flickering fireflies, to pick the succulent blackberries, to share the irreplaceable book, to knit plenty of warm socks before winter settles in again, to try to grasp those fading memories...and maybe to create a few more...for those who gather around my knees when they hear me take down the mixing bowls and reach for my wooden spoon.