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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Recipes for Living

All our social recipes have had to be revised during this pandemic. Relationships that were stably based on the routine of life have been blown to smithereens by the pressure cooker of constant togetherness. (I'm remembering here the one time I tried to use a pressure cooker, when the steam vent blew and I had smithereens of whatever it was all over the ceiling.)

 

There are so many variations on this enforced togetherness: two parents working from home while tending to three-year-old twins. So far I think that's the family I would least like to trade places with. But also those whose 20-something children have come back to the nest where both parents are out of work and future prospects look grim. Or parents of school-age children seeing the defects of on-line teaching as their children pine for friends. Or single people isolated for months.

 

And these are just a few of the situations I know of. The luckiest people are us. The two of us and so many friends in the same boat: both retired. Introverts. Foodies. People with pensions (the last generation with decent pensions). The only worries we (the wider "we") have is finding how to live together every minute of the day. Or rather, finding ways to separate just enough so we don't kill each other. (And if we –the wider "we"—feel that urge, we with our optimal situations, then imagine the homicidal urges popping up in the daily lives of those we know and love.)

 

So we need a different recipe for living right now. We need more breathing. More space—mental and emotional if not physical. We need more compassion, arms wide apart to signal the start of a virtual hug. More gratitude. More gratitude. More gratitude.

 

 

Copyright © 2020 Ann Tudor
Musings blog: http://www.scenesfromthejourney.blogspot.com
Audible.Ca: go to https://www.audible.ca and search for Ann Tudor
Audible.Com: go to https://www.audible.com and search for Ann Tudor




 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

What I Heart

I've had a lot more awareness of "heart" during this pandemic. Perhaps I used to bop along with a song in my heart (which might be just an earworm) but these days I find more poignancy than songs in my heart. The first awareness I had of this was when I was imagining doing something—a project, something useful, something artistic—and instead of becoming excited at the prospect of this engagement, my heart sank. My heart sank when I urged myself to go beyond my usual pandemic activity of reading or cooking. My heart sank. Not an expression I used much in the olden days.

 

Then, this weekend I discovered that I have a hole in my heart as big as the stall at a farmers' market. As I regard the coming Saturday mornings without our traditional walk up to Dundas for the Junction Farmers' Market. Or a Thursday afternoon walk over to the Dufferin Grove Farmers' Market, all I see is emptiness.

 

Sometimes, it isn't until something is gone that we recognize its value. I've always known that I like "doing" the markets. I like slipping on my big basket backpack and setting off like some old-timey housewife to bring home the bacon—and the tomatoes and lettuce as well.

 

Our markets are doing their best to find ways to connect farmers with customers. But I don't get a thrill from going on line, selecting a farmer's pre-chosen box, then paying for it through PayPal or Venmo so that I can, on the designated day at the designated time, stand in line to be given my brown paper bag of vegetable treasures. I can't fault them. My heart goes out to the farmers, for whom this prefab version of a market is bound to be considerably less lucrative than their usual appearances at the summer markets.

 

But I can't do it. At least not yet. I want to go to Steph's stall and see what she's offering this week. Go to the Sosnitsky stall and say, "Is Ben not here today?" Listen to snatches of conversation from my fellow shoppers. See the musician of the day. Watch the kids begging for a fruit popsicle or a baked treat.

 

I want my farmers back. I want to choose the particular box of cherry tomatoes that will serve my particular needs for the week. I want my farmers' markets back!!

 

All right. It's safe to come out. The tantrum is over. At least, the yelling part of it. As I was coming to grips this weekend with how important the markets are to me, I realized that the reason I put up with Toronto winters--the scarves and hats and gloves and boots--for all those bitter months is that I know my markets will be here for me in the summer. And I will be here for them. I will pay whatever is asked, grateful to the farmers for driving into town so that we can buy directly from them and they can sell directly to us.

 

Green beans. New potatoes. Radishes of all sorts. Fat lettuces. Little leaves of greens. Various kales: dark, pale, red-tipped. Foraged mushrooms. Rainbow carrots and chard. Onions through the season, starting with scallions and moving the next week to small bulbs at the end of the long green stems. The week after that the bulbs are bigger. Then bigger. Later the stems are gone and we have the fresh onions, fat and not dried, followed in a few weeks by the keeping onions, dried and ready to be stored through the cold. And then the winter squashes, markers of the end of the market season.

 

I don't know how I'll manage. But I suppose we'll accept ordering on-line, even though it is as unsatisfactory for this purpose as Zoom is for family get-togethers. We'll adjust and be grateful. It's all about change, isn't it?

 

 
Copyright © 2020 Ann Tudor
Musings blog: http://www.scenesfromthejourney.blogspot.com
Audible.Ca: go to https://www.audible.ca and search for Ann Tudor
Audible.Com: go to https://www.audible.com and search for Ann Tudor




 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Present, the Future

We're just not used to it this business of taking care of the present. We've always aimed ourselves at the future (what do you see yourself doing five years from now?). The tips of our arrows have been dipped in hope and our bows have flung them forward, always forward.

 

Now we're being asked for something different—and something difficult. We can't send our arrows fletched with hope (hope is the thing with feathers) into the future because we can't see it—or even imagine it. If we let those arrows fly without knowing their destination they may boomerang and rain back on us. Who can know? As an aside I suppose I should acknowledge that a big whack of people think they know: every Op-Ed page, every blog purports to show us our future. I wouldn't believe them, if I were you.

 

I am not you, of course. I am me and I am agreeing with Jon Kabat-Zinn: here is where we are and need to be. If we start taking care of the present (and may I say that up to now we haven't made a very good job of it), we will shape the future as we go. We're doing it already, in many ways. Let's keep on.

 
 
Copyright © 202 Ann Tudor
Musings blog: http://www.scenesfromthejourney.blogspot.com
Audible.Ca: go to https://www.audible.ca and search for Ann Tudor
Audible.Com: go to https://www.audible.com and search for Ann Tudor