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New Moonshine, New Spring Soil

I woke up glad Pharrell wrote an anthem of freedom and joy. Glad Louis CK performed an amazingly on-point SNL opening monologue last night. Glad Lena Dunham shares her smart voice about growing up and creativity. Glad for the work I do. Glad for the worlds it introduces to me. Glad for the lilies blooming by my bed. Glad for the frittata I made yesterday. Glad for strong coffee with cream. Glad for dear friends. Glad for red wine to share with them. Glad for my sweet-as-pie kitty. Glad—very glad—it’s a new moon today. And glad—very, very glad—to release what no longer works.

So here’s to a reboot. Pick up a shovel. Sow your blessings. Fertilize’em with your shit. And then dig some more. There is joy in turning new spring soil.


Spring, and the Art of Losing

The end of winter may be the most melancholy time of year. It’s not melancholy like November, when the last of summer sweet disappears into early darkness. It’s not melancholy like February, when we lose hope that anything will ever be easy again. March’s melancholy is a gentle sadness encircling early spring, when we bask in new light and warmth, and grasp at every precious ray of new sun; when we remember what (and who) is no longer here to share our joy. The losses are necessary, perhaps–the worn-out do not tolerate beginnings–but harsh, like the bright after a long season of shadows.

It reminds me of that wonderful poem by Elizabeth Bishop:

One Art
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Sunday Supper in Gracie Rosmansion

Something about this still-chilly March Sunday—on which we all felt a little fragile about losing an hour to daylight’s savings—made me keen to steam up my kitchen’s windows. First I brined a turkey with juniper berries, salt, sugar, cloves, chili peppers, thyme, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Then I assembled an enormous and very earnest salad of spinach, fresh feta, blood oranges, roasted beets, tarragon, mint, and parsley, and fed some of it to a friend and myself while her new baby and my tiny cat watched with round eyes. As the bird slowly roasted with red wine, lemons, fennel bulbs, leeks, carrots, and potatoes in a bright blue Le Creuset, we took a stroll around the neighborhood and felt glad about the afternoon light as well as each other. After she wended home with her small charge, I stored the leftovers in carefully labeled containers, and made a pot of polenta with chopped sausage, lacinato kale, oregano, rosemary, fennel, tomato, and garlic. I ate a bowl of all that with grated Parmigiano and a glass of Italian table wine while paging through an elaborate 1970s cookbook, and, when finished, stored the rest of the pot’s contents in more carefully labeled containers and washed all the day’s dishes while humming along to Dinah Washington. By then, the many bridges of my fine city had finally lit up the night sky, and I regarded the view, as well as the contents of the refrigerator, with great satisfaction. No matter what this week brought, I’d ensured I’d be the queen of my castle.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy