Noodles. And all the questions.


There is this place of hibernation that has held my mind.

A place where questions are gathering and asking of me to be in the stillness of the words.

Mornings wake with pondering of value of compassion of relevancy of beauty of new choices.

Arising out of a question was the knowing that I will never tell myself I can't eat a grain for purposes of keeping myself slim.

My pleasure comes from combining spices, boiling bone broths, discovering new teas, pairing a wine with a roast, chopping kale into tiny shreds. My pleasure comes from the stack of wooden cutting boards that sit on the counter next to the empty oil bottles waiting for the someday project of infusing oils. My pleasure comes from holding a wooden spoon soaked and stained from their time in the soup pot. 

The words begging us to believe we are not whole running through media, it is time to lose that weight once and for all so just buy Oprah's new soup. My inbox stuffed with more communication than I can receive. So much to buy to know to read. 

I find the place of hibernation and questions as my physical self continues the act of mothering and loving and teaching and providing.

In the mirror each night I am faced with the questions around my body and I refuse the answers that a part of me clings to. I refuse the answers and return to the hibernation of my mind.

Noodles. In college it was Ramen. Set the timer for three minutes, or was it two? We would make three packets at a time. Always chicken. That was our meal.

Then I discovered Pad Thai in New York City, steaming with basil and fish sauce and flavors entered my world that were like mysteries I would one day solve. They have been solved.

Pasta Puttanesca and its story of the ladies of the night simmering this spicy salty sauce and how the capers and anchovies and hot peppers must have become their perfume. I imagine these women piling into the kitchen for connection and escape and that something that beautiful spicy food gives us.

My mom making Fettuccine Alfredo and how I can taste it and smell it in my memory, the inspiration for a pizza I made with butternut squash and shrimp and roasted chickpeas on the Alfredo sauce. 

The meal I made over and over after I miscarried my first pregnancy, roasted eggplant mixed with more lemon than is sensible and the parmesan cheese and black pepper that attach to each strand of the spaghetti, somehow healing my insides through the comfort of the noodles. 

I will not take noodles away from myself again. And this act of kindness and pleasure will mean the questions continue to look at me through my skin as I stand in the mirror.

Earlier today I started to write this email. The first in weeks. The hibernation over and my mind unable to hold back words.

I was about half way through and realized I was typing it into a text block I don't normally use. I didn't know the text block was attached to the picture. The picture I deleted.

Looking at the screen, seeing there was no way to un-do this decision.

Tears. I thought it was good. Really good. I knew I would not get it back. 

The hibernation over and the first words lost.

My throat is aching and my glands sore. I got in the car to go pick up Chloe. I drove the 30 minutes with words dancing in my mind, mixed with the sadness of those lost.

I thought about the three packages of beans I have in the pantry. I imagined what each would become in time.

Winter Solstice making an enchilada pie after soaking the beans then cooking them in onions, garlic and broth until they fall apart. Like she made for me on one of the hardest nights I have lived through.

Pigeon peas for salads. Adzuki for bean burgers. 

The pleasure I feel when I put my hand in a bowl of beans softening. I used to not let myself eat bean either.

The softening in my body of forty-three years. A rooting in as I ache to get the words back and find comfort in knowing that everything we loose is always somehow inside of us. That energy we release or hold.

I decide to surrender. I send a note to my business group and rearrange a video call so I can rest my throat and neck.

Chicken meatballs with grated sweet potato, garlic, onion and kale. Shiitake mushrooms and kale with hot pepper sauce and teriyaki coconut aminos and rice wine vinegar. Rice because kids love rice. I am quiet and listening to them. 

"Mom, there is water all over the floor of the bathroom." I look over at the kitchen floor. The water is dripping down through the ceiling.

We run around for towels as he fixes the leak.

We are sitting at the dinner table. Dave and I have one kid in between us on the wooden bench I gave him for his birthday. All of a sudden he reaches over to me, rubs my shoulder, he is smiling at me with such truth and we hold hands behind our little one.

The kids have second helpings of the meatballs. 

Answers are finding their way in. The hibernation is over. The beans will be soaked. The noodles will be slurped. My pleasure my words my silence my compassion my relevancy my sadness my sore throat my questions.

And so it is.