Love Food is in full swing again. I get picked up every weekday morning, week on, week off, at 7 am, just as the sun is rising. I walk in the door at suppertime. It call it double-dutch hour – the ropes are swinging inwardly, and it’s up to me to start swaying, slowly, to catch the rhythm, then jump in.
This week, my week ‘off’, has been full of food styling gigs, podcast editing, committee meetings and working on a brand and website revamp. The revamp was inspired, in part, by a book I read over the holidays: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. Tidying, says Marie, isn’t just about getting rid of stuff, it’s about asking yourself a simple question – does this item spark joy? Although we moved into a new house last summer, I brought boxes of stuff to the new house that DID NOT SPARK JOY. So in January I started to cleanse. My home. My routine, my rhythm, my freezer, my social life, my professional brand, my website. It was time, and it feels good. But it takes time. Establishing joy is a work in progress.
Today chicken stock is on the stove; not because I’m organized, but because Monday is green bin day and I had to clean out the fridge. Laundry is folded, not put away. Single socks are on the dining room table. My cat is sitting in the middle of it all.
I can hear my husband coughing upstairs. It’s the season of colds, and colds crawl into his lungs and hover there for weeks.
The boys have the TV on. It’s a beautiful day, but they’ve been outside, so I don’t mind. Somehow a group activity like television has become comforting, nostalgic. Boys sitting separately on screens plugged into earphones screams of lonely isolation. They’re happy, but it makes me sad.
After cleaning out the fridge I moved on to the bowl on the counter. In the bowl sat lemons, apples, a finger length of turmeric, ginger and an aging pomegranate. I tore it apart and, for some reason, walked downstairs into the basement.
The basement was an apartment until the early 1970’s. Since then it has sat empty, the rooms dark, the walls partially excavated revealing layers of paneling on top of laths on top of older laths. An old hearth sits in the main room, which was presumably the kitchen one hundred years ago. The outside walls are a mix of brick and stone and plaster. There’s a linoleum floor covered in a carpet motif. Window sills have turned to sand. Someone painted on the walls, using metallics and foil and pops of colour. There’s some ivy growing through the foundation and twisting up to the light. It’s a movie set down there; who knows what the plot might have been.
The pomegranate liked the basement. Something about the light, the textures, the history of the place. I stayed down there for a little while and took some pictures. It’s what I do when I’m supposed to be doing something else. Creativity surges in me when I putter. Mundane tasks allow for white space to fill the mind, and white spaces gives way to ideas. I think my mother taught me this. I’ve watched her countless times abandon a domestic task because she feels the need to draw. Immediately. We’re the same.