A hobby isn't a hobby... unless there is a little danger involved. So we made soap.
These are the things I hope to teach my kids, mostly by example, over the course of their lives. I'm recording them so that they can read them if something should happen to me. It's important to note that by articulating these I am not claiming to have accomplished them. In fact, I have failed largely at each. But, they remain goals nonetheless.
Born February 16th, with a black grease mop parted to perfection, at a rotund and gluttonous 10 lbs 3 oz, it was immediately apparent that Saparmurayat Niyazov had reentered the world in the form of our daughter. Though we were defiant in our assuredness that our nurturing could undo nature and deter the little bundle from despotism, we nonetheless relented to nature a bit and declared her, and her birth month formerly referred to as February: May. There was also a pleasant alphabetic economy to it considering her mother is Amy. Might as well ration now as I could see by the glint in her eye that she would soon make illegal all excess letters and numbers.
The air will be full of soft enveloping salt and fat. Whole milk will work over hard flakes. Heat will emanate in rough rectangles out of the toaster. Invisible towers of condensation will obscure the window while I stand and wait. Out there, I will see bittersweet branches brought low by precarious piles of snow. Blue jays will bloat against the smoldering cold. Birds yesterday flew wildly against the choke of vines and berries. Birds today big and blue and still. Birds tomorrow torn apart by three black cats. Their transparent temperament tells the temperature. There is a frozen city for no man. Here is the heat of deceivers and the light of self-deception. I peanut butter toast.
Rosa's imagination (and...um...ours) is put to the chalkboard above the kitchen counter.
This year was especially accommodating for the annual tree gathering adventure due to copious amounts of snow. Even the sign that reminds us where to turn was buried in snow, which caused us to drive an extra 30 miles in the wrong direction (every turn looking more like the last). But, no matter, we eventually got there and bagged a beautiful tree. It helped that it was completely covered in snow so we couldn't see what it really looked like until we got it home. There, it turned out strangely symmetrical.
Without fail, this is where you will find us eating an everything bagel with chili garlic (Jacob), a plain with Mert's pimento cheese (Amy) and a plain with house smoked salmon (Rosa).
I was reminded of pine trees (which rarely go out of my mind in winter...how could anything that keeps it's green in winter be far from thought?) today while listening to pandora radio. Winter has not been kind so far but my rhododendron comforts me in the morning as I pass it to get the bus. There are a lot of long needle pines along the way too. They have not fared as well this and last winter. The snow has been heavy and icy and many have lost a lot of limbs or gone down altogether. They appear to go happily though, hanging around dead, perfect green splinters preserved in dirty and disintegrating snowpack. I know how they feel. Winter makes me relish the shortness of life. While idling solitary at the bus stop, having long since stopped wondering about the bus, the baying wind binds this idea to my brain. It's a warm idea that subtracts me and negates me. It makes me feel brave in humility. It makes me feel healthy in diminishment. It makes me long to disappear beneath the rearing light. Under the groaning waves of the faltering evergreens, I'll gladly drown. What is winter for if not for loneliness, pneumonia and for reminding you that you are little more than a desolate meerkat in the desert night nattering to yourself about food and shelter for a few brief days before you're extinguished, having accidentally nibbled on a scorpion you mistook for a delicious grub. Winter is winter. I was not once and I will not be again. In the meanwhile, I'll be a pleasant winter herbage, not wilting by nature but not opposing it.
Though the spirits have been good all around of late (owing to my new job, which makes me less of an asshole), the bodies have not.