In one hand I have a warm and spicy apple cider vinegar digestif. In the other, a novel translated from Spanish into English with a particular writing style which takes some mental wrangling. In my head, Amy Winehouse. She’s been there for several days as I digest and mentally wrangle the story of her life. Empathy at an all-time high. Dinner is still on the stove. It’s been there for hours and the yellow split peas just won’t cook down; won’t soften. They were passed onto me by a friend, who received them from her friend, whose husband of Indian descent recently passed and “she never has to look at Indian food again.” (I’d look at Indian food for the rest of my life, if I could.) The cut beans might be old, inedible, funk. But I can’t bring myself to move on. I’ll cook every last one of those hard beans, likely, even if none of them go quietly. I ended up with roasted turmeric potatoes and spicy mayonnaise to sustain me. Isn’t it funny how often our tide-me-over snacks become dinner themselves? I was washing the wooden cutting board and thinking about the nasty political climate. I remember researching how to wash a porous, wooden cutting board and reading that it’s not so much about the cleansing agent as it is the pressure of the water dispersing the residue. I started to think that maybe organizing is about the pressure, too. We don’t so much have to have solutions but we can say what we don’t want here any longer. Now I think it’s too scary a metaphor. Isn’t that maybe, possibly, what’s happening now? Suddenly there are people in ranks who never wanted anything to do with those ranks other than to clean house. Clean House. Unrepresent. Suddenly it’s all like a haunting movie. One of those blockbusters with a big message that people sort of overlook because culturally aware individuals are leaning on independent films and artists to reach assimilation. I remember telling my youngest brother, ten years my junior, that the world depicted in edible books like the Hunger Games was a possible future, not realizing that it takes at once decades and single instants to develop those realities. Though I feel dazed, it’s the people that don’t that I see living in some alternate universe, one where the most grotesque behaviors are unspoken norms shielded paradoxically by the very principles they seem to resist. Let us not pretend it isn’t as though a man who would take a mistress and police his wife would condemn a stranger who decided not to bring up a child in an unpredictable world. Mostly, though, overtaking my usual underlying stretch of general anxiety is a newfound hope. Probably because I’m not personally connected to any one present tragedy. Unexpectedly, because my general anxieties usually surmount about the plight of the earth and human existence. I’m the farthest away from my family I’ve ever been. I’m in the most uncertain terrain of my short history. But I am constantly overtaken by feelings of resounding stillness and the peace that comes with that. By taking one giant leap I forced myself to stand on a rock far enough out into the sea to require a smart plan for rescuing myself and that takes time. And sustenance. I’m determined to feed well along the journey, which seems barren and destitute, but in fact comes with great chocolate and a nice skillet. My tears, once wrought with daily panic, arise now only for raw onions. I thought everything that came before had to work, or I wasn’t working hard enough. Now I know that we are left, that we leave, and such sincere moments of truth-telling do not denature our humanity. I am currently surviving on chummy political discourse reminiscent of the talk radio my father insists upon in the car; coconut milk blended with all kinds of interesting flavors from sweet potato to savory dal for the mere fact that it is an absolute d e l i g h t; and the mighty guerilla that is optimism and believing that people are mostly good despite evidence to the contrary. Call me blind, call me liberal, call me crazy, call me woman.
1. Unintentionally dried roses from my birthday bouquet (read: we forgot to continue watering them)
2. La Purisima Mission, a hike on the back trails
3. Mango fruit leather: fresh mango puree with cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and salt. Dehydrated overnight. Rolled, sliced
4. Inclusive pins-turned-fridge-magnets and a chakra candle. Radiant love shouldn’t have to be radical
5. Kale chips: lacinato kale massaged with avocado oil and peppered with himalayan salt and nutritional yeast. Dehydrated overnight