Archive for June, 2010
Walking barefoot through the dew drenched grass is one of my favorite ways to start a summer day. Years ago when I still lived at home with my parents, and then after, when we had a lawn of our own, I used to love waking up early on summer mornings, sometimes as early as five, to curl my toes in the grass, inhaling the early morning scent of the roses climbing the side of the house, before settling on the doorstep with my steaming mug of hot milk or coffee, and a side of half a loaf of crusty French bread.
Any child can tell you that very few things taste better than bread smeared with butter and honey and dipped in milk, first thing on an empty stomach. Add a handful of sun ripened raspberries and the melody of chirping bluebirds, and it is blissful heaven.
When I was a kid we had egg laying chickens, and it was my job on summer mornings to go and fetch the still warm eggs. The chickens terrified me and I used to take a stick with me to swat at them should they come flying my way. I don’t remember them attacking me, but I do remember having to shove them off the eggs.
If there were enough for all of us, my dad would peel a few potatoes, wash them well and cut them into strips for frying. He’d fry the eggs too, just enough to be considered cooked, but still soft yellow and runny, and make a fresh cucumber and tomato salad on the side. We’d eat them hungrily, wiping our plates clean with leftover bread, that last taste of all the flavors soaked into its crust, the most delicious of all.
But my favorite start to a summer day, is when I awaken sandwiched between the bodies of my little loves, their gentle snores singing in my ear. Perhaps it is the early morning light that wakes them and brings them to our bed. I hold them close and breath in their sweet scent, wanting the moment to last forever. Their daddy and I watch them sleep and whisper our love for them, the joy they bring to us, wanting so much to be perfect parents to these two blessings entrusted to us for loving and raising. Only after we are all awake do we make our way to the kitchen with its many windows and refrigerated bounty for a hearty breakfast only daddies know how to prepare.
This blogging once a week thing, isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I had an extremely busy week, yet I kept thinking of you all, and your families, in your corner of the world, and whether it was raining or sunny, or whether you all were happy, or sad. And my big ego, of course, worried that I wasn’t missed, or worse still, that I was forgotten entirely as you went about your days.
I had been planning to read two books this past week, and also to write. The books I didn’t touch, the writing very little. I did clean my house from top to bottom, though, and I also baked almost every day. Oh, and we played ball with the kids in the house, and managed to break a chandelier into a million pieces; pieces I’m still finding underneath bookcases and end tables. But hey, we were having fun! And lighting stores are filled with chandeliers. And childhood is so short. So…
Anyway, wishing you all a lovely, sunny weekend! And one for me too. I’m thinking of having a yard sale. I need to, since chandeliers aren’t cheap.
“Start with one.” My wife whispers to me. Her voice and eyes are gentle. I smile at her, but I cannot start. She prods me daily, and yet all I can do is stare at them and the next day go and buy some more.
There used to be a day, so long ago it seems it happened to someone else, that any pencil that came into my hand was put to use, writing the most elaborate stories and fantasies for anyone who would read them. I didn’t know about life then, yet I was read widely and much appreciated not just in my country, but in those surrounding. And just like that, in the quickest breath that time could take, the world became a nightmare, my works were destroyed, and I was a person no one wanted to associate with.
Perhaps I don’t have a story to tell, after all. Who cares, really, about a has been, other than a handful of people, and maybe not even those. I had been imprisoned, beaten daily, my fingernails pulled, and the tips of my fingers burned with a lighter, and when they thought that I was broken, released like a dog. They opened the door and kicked me out, a heavy boot on my backside.
My wife tells me to write of how I escaped. How I walked the one hundred miles home, only to find someone else living in it, how I begged them to allow me to spend the night, at least, and give me a hot meal, and how they turned me away, apologizing that they didn’t dare, that they feared for their lives should they do so. I was a free man, yet, apparently no one was free to share a kindness with me.
She thinks the world needs to know how I turned away and went in search of my friends, and found none. And how I lived in the woods and foraged for something to eat, and how on the day when I couldn’t even see my shadow, how I walked to the border, and lay in wait in the tall grasses. When the change of the guard came, I ran over the open field into the river, and swam across it expecting to be killed at any moment, yet not caring one way or another.
Her idea of escape isn’t mine, and my idea of a life isn’t hers. Perhaps when I shall figure out what to write, I will start with a pencil and find out how many it takes.
This is a work of fiction. For the remainder of the summer season I will most likely blog only about once a week. For more, please visit Magpie Tales.
Our little family of four has a ritual on Saturday mornings. Waking up early, the kids crawl in our bed and proceed to wake us with kisses and tickles. We linger in bed, all of us beneath the sheets, laughing and hugging and talking about what dreams we dreamt. Without fail, our daughter’s dreams are about Hello Kitty. Our son’s about some sort of invention, for he wants to grow up and be an inventor. Hubby’s about things he can’t remember but little snippets of, and mine about all sorts of crazy and unrealistic things (such as gorging on croissants and losing weight instead of gaining).
After much analyzing of what they could mean, and a few more kisses and hugs, we get up and get ourselves ready to head out to a hearty breakfast. We need fortification for the morning calls for walking and more walking. We are lucky to be able to live within walking distance to some of the best restaurants and shops in the city. And so we walk, whenever the weather and little legs permit. In the Pacific Northwest, sunny summer mornings are the most splendid of all.
Invariably, I end up having either an omelette with sauteed wild mushrooms in butter, or a fantastic oversized waffle with fresh berries and cream. Sometimes I order both and split the waffle with hubby, who never refuses. The kids, of course, order the chocolate chip pancakes with vanilla ice cream and cream on the side. Because it is Saturday, ice cream is allowed with breakfast.
Claiming they are too stuffed to walk, we give in to the kids pleas and take the car to the open-air market in the university blocks. What a sight greets us! Baskets of peonies and vibrant dahlias in every color. Fragrant lavender tied with ribbons. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries… berries, berries and more berries. Cucumbers, radishes, green onions. And earthy, aromatic wild mushrooms that smell of pines and oaks and damp forest grounds. All of them tucked between stalls of breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries, and those of cheeses, sausages, and wines.
Despite still digesting our breakfast, we don’t refuse samples of any of them. The pervasive smell of fresh herbs and root vegetables stir at our appetites, and sooner rather than later we find ourselves starving. After an hour or two of ambling between stalls, sampling the goods, buying the ingredients for the day’s dinner, petting dogs, and chatting with neighbors we run into, we find a seat, get a coffee and some mouthwatering food from one of the few vendors, and listen in to one of the bands playing, thankful for our little family and our lovely life. For it is these little things, these little rituals that make us the most grateful and bring us the most happiness.
Does life get any better than this? Friends around wishing us the best, our family’s unconditional love, great food, happy memories in the making to sustain us a lifetime. From where I’m sitting, this moment in time is pure bliss. All it needs is my grateful heart to acknowledge it.
For more Corner Views visit Jane at Spain Daily.