LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

There was one spot that was unique,

a spot where I could be at my very best.

It was my job to distinguish it from all other places.

Carlos Casteneda, from The Teachings of Don Juan

That’s what I’m looking for here. The past few days, since discovering the web logging world, I have read quite a few blogs. The subcultures here mirror the wider world.

It’s easy to get caught up in one. I almost did.

But what I’m really interested in are stories of our lives, in all their glorious and humbling particularity. I have found several essay-style bloggers, and want to find more. That’s where “my spot” is, and what rings my bell.

I’m smart, but not particularly intellectual. And simple pleasures do it for me.

It’s easy to push my buttons.

Both of my parents died in November of the year. When fall comes, much as I love the season, I begin to feel their absence more acutely. Some days I just have to cook massive quantities of Southern food to work through the sense of loss.

I could feel it coming on, even in late September, so we went to the Western Carolina Farmer’s Market yesterday. Rising early and grinding a mix of French Roast and Costa Rica coffee beans from Smoky Mountain Roasters in Clyde, North Carolina, I started by washing and soaking pinto beans, then moved on to washing collard green leaves, some as big as elephant ears, stripping them off the stems and tearing them into reasonably bit size pieces by hand. The fact that my hand is hurting today (familial arthritis) made it more like a ritualistic meditation, which of course, it is.

Later on, I chopped yellow squash and onions for the squash casserole, added chunks of cured country ham and fresh thyme to the beans, peeled crisp fresh turnips to boil, and selected a ripe red tomato to slice.

The food was beautiful on the plate, a rustic mix of dark green, reddish brown, white, yellow and red.

My husband, Buck, knows to just let me be when this mood is on me, and enjoy the proceeds of my frenzy. As for me, the emotional storm passed, leaving me without appetite, but satisfied.

Speak. Leave a memory.

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