15 April 2013

Brown rice and weeds

This is the place to begin.  A long season of change tempered by the steady influence of brown rice and weeds, oat groats, and sourdough bread. 

I left Minnesota with my family and moved to Middlebury, Vermont in October 2012, and we've spent the past six months settling into a new community, new schools, a new job, and everything else.  And now it's almost spring.

When I walk with my daughter in the evenings after the dishes have been washed I smell the still-cold air against the birthing earth, warm with rot and new growth, piles of crust and slips of green, always.  

Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Lent, Easter; we've now celebrated these seasons among old friends, family with whom we haven't shared holidays in many years, and new friends who have been kind, generous, and welcoming.  I helped my sister make Thanksgiving dinner for thirty-five or so in Buffalo and we shared the Christmas season with my wife's siblings, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and other relatives in Montreal, eating great Vietnamese food and a few of our traditional Christmas cookies.  It's good to be here.

I've eaten oat groats for breakfast since I've been in Vermont, having switched to oatmeal more than a year ago after many, many years of coffee and doughnuts in the morning.  Lunch is typically brown rice and some leafy green -- weeds, as far as my kids are concerned, and I don't know if it's necessary to differentiate the chards from the kohls; what I notice is green life and energy as I walk back to work. 

And then there's everything else that we prepare and eat, buy and make.  Everything still is our food, and we eat at our table every night, candles lit and some form of grace said or recited.  On weekends there is wine, rare on a weekday unless a special meal is served.  Nuts and dried fruit find their way to the table most evenings, and when mangoes are ripe I peel one for my youngest.  We press our children to make desserts themselves, telling them that their effort is all that will produce a sweet on the table.  And still we talk, sit at the table and let conversations turn and grow into this tendril or that, as I hope this blog continues to do.

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