Aug. 7th, 2016

zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
[The subject line is from an Emily Dickinson poem.]

I walked to a neighborhood store earlier tonight for caraway seeds, which I will blend with some recently harvested hot peppers and other spices for harissa. I was drenched with sweat by the time I got home, but also delighted with the aliveness of my street: bands playing, lovers walking, flowers nodding, kids playing ball, friends queueing up for pizza... A new apartment complex has a painting of an octopus in its lobby. Spiky white and purple flowers fill out the front border of one of the houses on the route; a holly hedge separates a comparatively conventional lawn from the deliberate wilderness next door. Next weekend there will be around 60,000 people in this patch of Nashville for the Tomato Art Festival. I shall certainly rejoice in the money they are adding to the local economy and likely hide from them all.

During tonight's walk, I thought about the Pharmacy and I Dream of Weenie -- places I had visited with a high school friend and his wife, a librarian who passed away last week -- and of Sweet 16th, whose breakfast sandwiches they also enjoyed. Tomorrow another friend will go into surgery for cancer.

Another friend is a student minister, and preached with passion this morning on the complexity of people, including Paul Gauguin, whose painting Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? provided the lyrics of a hymn that separated the sections of her sermon. There was a medical episode in the congregation midway through the sermon, and she acknowledged it with poise and grace as well. For the musical affirmation and offertory, Kathleen M. Basi's "Bud Break" and "Far from Home" flute-piano duets were performed.

I didn't actually get around to making the harissa tonight. There was supper to prepare (steak and salad), and also a sort-of tagine to get started (chicken thighs that had been marinating in a pepper-wine-garlic brine for a while, to which I added some of the spices listed here, a bag of frozen artichoke hearts (because the cauliflower I thought was in the fridge was not), and a yellow tomato. There were also various bits in the fridge to pour into houseplants (iced tea dregs) or thermos (kickass butternut squash soup I made late last week).

Been chucking some clothes and papers as well. (Goodbye, awesome but worn-out purple dress from Reims ...) I came across a letter I wrote back in 1993, soon after the BYM and I started dating. This sentence leapt out: "He wants a dog someday, and I am near-phobic." Some things do change, it would seem.

Miss Dawg

I likewise sacked out when I got home from church. Hurrah for Sunday summer afternoons!

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