They can’t all be, I’m realizing. Nor can every day bring something inspiring or uplifting, or even, for that matter, remotely interesting. It’s been a confusing week.
I’ve not been sleeping. I’ve been eating in little dribs and drabs: hobbling together some cheese on toast here, a bit of soup there, some little piece of fruit in between. Nothing really, whatsoever, to photograph; nothing to report on; no inspiration at all in terms of what to make. I had a brief glimmer midweek of shaved asparagus tossed with lemon juice and parmesan (from this guy, my hero). Then I had a thought about strawberries with chamomile cream, which I felt would probably be even better if one (meaning me) could make a cookie that was thin and crisp and scented of cardamom to go along with it.
But then something would interfere (namely the exhibition of 100 artists that was being produced at work), some bit of life would intervene, and I would find myself, somewhat inexplicably, eating a Vietnamese pork sandwich that cost $3.50 and hastily slurping an Orangina. Not a bad lunch exactly, but not a blog-worthy one either.
I’ve learned a few things this week, in the midst of the chaos and tumult and what felt like, on my part, one misstep after the next: (1) don’t make decisions on no sleep and an empty stomach; (2) first impressions and first instincts are usually correct (and sometimes trying—so ardently trying—to see the best in people can be a curse); (3) friends are more valuable than lovers; and (4) there’s always something better, something more, um, appropriate?, well suited?, comfortable?, waiting on the horizon. This last one is uncharacteristically optimistic, I know, but I’m learning to believe in it. It’s what I tell my dearest friends when they are going through tough times.
I know this post is oblique, but that is how my life has been in these past couple of weeks. It’s time to get back to some semblance of normalcy and some vague idea of self, however tattered, however complicated and flawed, however fraught. I tell my students that it is important to never lose sight of beauty and of poetry, and I want to remind myself of the same. These are not easy things, and they are not often simple. But nothing simple ever really endures. And it’s in the complexity of life that we often find meaning.
I solidified a friendship this week with one of the strongest women I have possibly ever met. She is on her way to the middle of nowhere New Mexico, where she runs an amazing off-the-grid artist’s residency. We laughed and talked and commiserated. We made a little more of a home for one another in each of our hearts. She reminded me that one can be alone and also full of life at the same time. I imagine her in the next few weeks looking out over the mesa with a sense of strength and radiance and courage and calm. We’re learning the hard way her and I, but that’s sometimes the best that anyone can do.
For now, here’s to that. Next week we’ll eat strawberries.