2 November 2013
Before we get to flowers, I spent the morning thinking about lunch. I never liked cooking really, at least, not the way cooking should be done: a catalogue of tastes and comparisons, a back-knowledge of ideas, references, a sympathy for how food starts out, and what can be created. I haven’t really known any of that.
I do love to bake though, but that is a straightforward experience: I am good at following directions. I am good at being precise. So today, when I cooked the leek and potato soup from off the top of my head (I followed a recipe for it last week, but now I remember it), I paid close attention to the process. The geometry of chopping and dicing. The way the vegetables soften, the way they can contribute to their own loosening. It almost made me think of the Obsessive Chef chopping board, but I was just more interested in being mindful of the process altogether, and being precise only because of that awareness.
Now, the soup is simmering, I’m sitting down to some work, and the day is flowing along nicely.
A story in flowers.
Once, I killed an orchid because I didn’t know how to love it.
Once, I killed a rosebush because I forgot it was delicate.
Once, I loved a man because of how he watched the cherry blossoms, and how he walked across the city to sit beneath them for a while. Once, my love bloomed like a blossom, until the wind picked up.
Once, I hunted Easter eggs while daffodils played hide and seek with Spring. Once, I mistrusted the flowers that herald the change in seasons because I knew how easy it is to be fooled and misled.
Once, I forgot to say that lilies are beautiful but dangerous, and even though I wasn’t there, I felt responsible when my brother’s cat died because I knew things that could have saved her.
I pray when I cut the stems of roses at work. I wrote a poem for them, and now when I send flowers, I make sure they are living, not cut.
When we lived in Holland, I never saw real tulips. Just the ghosts of them on street corners.
At the farmer’s market a few weeks ago, there were sunflowers larger than a person’s face and taller than many children. I watched a man who bought one and carried it home like a token.
I know that sunflowers follow the sun, because I do too, and I understand the need to reposition in order to stay open.