The Alchemy of Soup

At 2:30am I wake for water.  Have a sip and realize my phone has late night messages and texts.  Tsunami warning for Hawaii.  First wave expected at 3:07.  Jeb sleeps soundly in the other room and like a modern mother bear I gather wee hour information.  Online it’s NOAA, a local TV station web cam, Twitter feeds and Facebook.  The gas stations have shut down – “don’t go to town, traffic’s crazy.”

We live on high ground, all should be well.  It’s silent and dark in the country.

At 3:07am the winds pick up and move through the coconuts.  I can hear the distant crash of the first waves, a crumbled white noise of foaming hiss on the cliffs about a mile down the street.  We are not rumbled.  I go back to sleep.

In the morning sun, it’s business as usual.  The tsunami watch is over and the highway is abuzz with Friday traffic.  Facebook is full of prayers for those in Japan.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

In the afternoon Jeb goes with his father and I fall asleep, still recovering from a cold.  I nap for hours, dreaming of trying to fit my car into an overcrowded garage and ordering sushi to-go.  I wake with a struggle still tasting the soon-to-come wasabi on my tongue.

There’s no sushi for miles so I make lentil soup instead.  Sun is going down and the house is quiet.  I use the curry and the cayenne the Rocket Scientist bought when he was here.  I sprinkle red clay salt and add the kale. Think about a Friday night with a head cold and how Netflix is an exciting prospect.  I’ll search for Mark Ruffalo and choose anything he’s in.  I’m not the star struck kind but I think I could watch Ruffalo eat a garden pepper and say the word “fecund” a hundred times.

Soup begins to steam.

Maybe soup is in my genes.  My Scottish great-grandmother, all 4’11 of her, standing in the kitchen in red patent pumps and huge brassy, bubbling pots.  Soup everyday.  How my dad tells a story of asking her for her recipes and she just laughed.  I stir my own little soup-for-two-pot and think that maybe those days at her  house had all the perfect ingredients.

Soup simmering on the stove.  Homemade raisin, chocolate chip cookies in the larder.  A red-carpeted spiral staircase and a thick-aired solarium full of misted baby’s breath and mossy tendrils.  Roses that lined the driveway.  Sunflowers in the garden by the raspberry patch.  Asparagus and orange trees.  This was my world at seven.

Maybe all I’m trying to do is find the gold I knew in those days there in the sunshine of the orange grove.

I have great fortune now.  Last night I was on high ground.  The petty ways of seeking ever-more satisfaction seem absurd in light of the suffering and death that can ensue with one swipe of Mother Nature’s hand.  These desires to perfect – ridiculous – when we are simply given the generous grace to breathe on planet earth and seek out any existence.  Netflix?  Ruffalo?

With the earthquake and tsunami reminders I give my thanks.  But they up the ante.  I don’t downshift my dreams.  They shake me to live life more.  Not forsake what I have but to embrace, as well, all that I vision to do.  How quickly I forget that life is not promised.  To be granted breath is an obligation to live richly.

Ok, so tonight’s time spent with Red Envelope entertainment is hardly taking Life’s proverbial bull by the horns, but I’m recovering.  I’m in rejuvenation.  Boosting my health back so I can breathe a full-bodied breath and exhale the tales of gold and rose adventures (or something like that).

There is gratitude for the thick, lush grass in my front yard.  I want to imbibe it fully, follow my wanderlust to other pastures, come home and tell you all about it.

With these ambitions I need to rest up.  Tonight, it’s Netflix, Ruffalo and the alchemy of soup.

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