Hello dearest, back from a stop at the little town library and my weekly run to the CSA farm, the second-to-last pickup for the season. Pick-ups usually run through Thanksgiving, or even later, but had to be cut short because tens of thousands of pounds of anticipated yield were lost in the aftermath of the late-August hurricane, the creek flooding and contaminating swathes of planted crops. I will miss going there. It gives a nice shape to my week, having that to look forward to, and I'll miss the produce itself. The CSA subscription is expensive - but worth it, I think. Besides the superb quality of the organic produce, I find that I make many fewer stops to the supermarket - saving money there, as well as, I suppose, on gas for the car - minimal, except over many weeks maybe it does add up. Certainly it's more convenient not to feel that I need to go the supermarket all the time (true, D often stops off there on his way home from town - though perhaps not usually for vegetables).
It was a lovely autumnal haul today, going around the bins: a sack of enormous sweet green apples (the same ones I used for the cake I baked yesterday, stealing bites of apple as I peeled & sliced); a zaftig, hourglass-shaped butternut squash; brown bags of onions and of sweet potatoes; beets (yet again! no matter, I like them, and they keep); little russet potatoes that promise to be especially earthy & flavorful, whether baked in the oven or grilled over coals in a foil-wrapped tin; an enormous head of broccoli, of a dark rich color (not like the chlorophyll-green California stuff); and a large handful of variegated kale - also deep earthy green, with purple stems.
I used last week's kale in a beautiful lunch dish today - the crinkly greens wilted in a sauce of chicken stock and white cannellini beans, seasoned with dried sage, lemon juice, milk, and parmesan, and combined with partially cooked fettucine that finished cooking (and absorbed some of the liquid) in the sauce. Divine - and both hearty and heartening on such a cold day.
I clipped fresh thyme from the CSA's herb garden as well, so I'll have a supply, for roasting chickens. I know I'm going on about the CSA today, but I do feel a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving about it. More Thanksgivingy a feeling than I often get on that day itself (as much as I really like that holiday - but it has so many ritual overlays on it, sometimes the simplicity gets lost). I like the whole ethos of the place, and I've mentioned the farmer's newsletters before, and his this week [link here] was, as always, beautifully written, and resonated for me, particularly at the end, his conclusions.
I appreciated his observation, that he makes almost in passing, about competition for love even within families, and when I read that, I felt a pang of painful recognition. I don't write about this very often - as fairly free-wheeling, no-holds-barred, and open as I tend to be here - but I harbor a lot of.... even here I hesitate as I type.... just a lot of anger and bad feeling about my family of origin (FOO). It was very difficult to grow up with them, and I had hopes that we might nevertheless having gotten through it might stick together, but it never happened, and in fact - I think the farmer nailed it, at least for me - people were picked, over certain other people. Very brutally, cruelly, ruthlessly - frankly, to my mind, barbarously. Yes, there very much was competition within the family, along with boatloads of impossible expectations.
Perhaps that's one reason - possibly even the main reason? - that you mean so much to me. You seem to see through all that garbage - well, you were never part of it (not of my immediate family obviously), yet somehow I think you could see it for what it was - you have 'constructs' on your own side that you've had to deal with. Anyway, with you I feel that you see me for just who I am, and you accept me, and there's nothing ruthless about it, far from it - the opposite.
Anyway, enough of that - but I'm glad that I bled that valve - a bit. And a bit is all really that I needed to do, to 'keep it real' -
So, now - on the eve of Halloween - you have a sense of my dark, unhappy, unforgiving side (and you know - it's not so much that as - simply not looking for love where it simply is not to be found - and so, as an act of self-preservation, I have to at this point wholly simply reject them - I'm not one of them - honestly, that's what it feels like to me sometimes).
Is that a weird legacy of, in my parents' generation, psychically absorbing lessons of surviving Communism - thereby embracing the New World (fine, okay) - but throwing out communitarian ideals along with it?
My mother hated the idea of "interdependency" - scoffed at it. What kind of family, or sense of family, is ever going to result if you don't have a sense of that?
Yours seems to at least have embraced that - thankfully, and once in a while, I'm there in person to glimpse it. As much as I disagree with their politics - at least they weren't so ruthless and callous in their family hewings. Though that, of course, brings up problems of its own, hewings to Eisenhower-era forms - well, of course that's - well, it's a comfort in some ways - imprisoning, I can imagine, in others. It's not the precise problem I had to deal with my FOO. But FOO's come in different forms....
Anyway, I have just been rattling on & on here. I won't bother to proof or polish - how could I possibly? I've just been trying to set out some stuff, that if it reads haltingly - it's because - yeah, it is halting, on a number of levels - not clean, neat, nice, aphoristic. But I'm glad I can type it out, and think of you, my dear man, reading & considering by lamplight, as I try to put together my thoughts, and send them out into the clear dark sky, out to you.
Love, and many kisses. xoxo