August has made me deliciously happy, stuffed full of peaches and tomatoes, toasty warm from summer sun, kissed by the most delicate of breezes. Such easy joy calls for a moment or two spent in quiet reflection, during which thoughts of all that is tasty or pleasurable are savored. The writer’s privilege is a life twice lived, once in the thick of the action and again in the sweet solitude of composition.
And now, the list:
* * * Organic Valley’s Raw Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Remarkably layered in flavor, this raw-milk cheddar’s salty-clean bite recedes into creamy sweetness. This cheese is made for nibbling, with or without bread, and is well worth its twelve-dollar-a-pound price tag.
* * * Peaches, too sweet to be eaten in any form but raw, preferably moments after slicing with a sharp knife. Tragedy was narrowly avoided last weekend when I ponied up quarters taken from my laundry money in order to possess two beautiful pints of peaches from my favorite fruit stall at the farmer’s market. Dirty clothes are a small price to pay for the pleasure of peaches.
* * * My morning prep list. Certain parts of lunch, such as lettuce-tearing and bread-slicing, must be prepared as close to noon as possible. My morning prep list, written the night before as lunch is being packed, eases a sleepy mind by negating the need to actually remember all that must be prepped for lunch. I love mornings, but thoughts are fleeting and dripping with dreamy fragments. Memory is occupied with revisiting the Matt who appeared in my dreams shortly before waking…
* * * Knee-length skirts brushing against bare legs. Summer is a shameless exhibition of body and fabric, swishing as I walk, tickling my skin with floaty softness. My extensive skirt collection is one of the tell-tale signs of my secret passion for all things flirty and feminine.
* * * Yoga stretching, immediately upon waking. A few sleepy moments spent in downward-facing dog, unkinking the back, does wonders for one’s posture and mood. After the dog, transition into an easy cobra pose and breathe deeply to open the lungs. Ahhh.
* * * Cream cheese frosting, eaten late at night, straight from the bowl. It is the baker’s treat after a job well done. One must have ample reward for dutifully completing homework for cake-decorating class.
* * * Sarah McLachlan sings to me while I slice cucumbers, “Would your love in all its finery/tear at the darkness all around me/until I can breathe again/until I believe again?” In song, she has captured me, “a wild fire born of frustration…I’ve no fear at all.” Indeed.
* * * My gorgeous knife collection, a thoughtful gift from my favorite onion-eater. Nothing makes a girl feel like a real grown-up cook like owning an enormous chef’s knife, which dwells cozily in a knife block next to the coffee-maker. You may be a control freak, my onion-caramelizing, cheese-loving, wine-drinking friend, but you are my very favorite control freak. I happily put myself in your hands; all is well when you are around.
* * * A mug of unsweetened, freshly brewed black tea. It is amazing what influence lovers wield. What was once unfathomable—why buy unflavored black tea when you can have gloriously fruity flavored tea!—becomes enjoyable, even memorable. I reach for the tea box and think about how I once bought this tea just for Matt. Now I buy it for me…and for him. But no sugar in my tea please—I get all the sweetness I need from his spirit, lingering in my kitchen long after he has left.
* * * The act of writing, with nothing more than a tumble of thoughts twisting and turning around each other. The unseen act of writing is the most delicious part, the part where ideas reveal themselves, clearly and beautifully. Writing is a crystallization of thought; it is an art. And one must not be afraid to make bad art, for bad art will hold hands lovingly with good art when good art is too small and fragile to emerge on her own. One must be brave enough to write badly. She who is afraid to write badly will soon be too afraid to write at all.