It rained all day long. I paced a bit and then, desperately decided to be constructive by starting the recipe book for my son who returns to college in Dublin next week. We had talked about it. I did promise it. But time passed by without anything being produced. He appeared anxious today. He opened the door to the shelf where all my recipe books reside. He said to me, 'mom, remember, you promised you would put some of your recipes together for me'. I sought out some A4 sheets. I had the binder. I started to write them out. Puy lentils with chorizo and chili, beef stew, Mom's special Spag. sauce with lardons and sugar (secret recipe), Spanish pork with green peppers and olives, Captain's curry (your favourite since you were a kid) á la The Joy of Cooking, Chili con carne, simple but effective and filling and don't forge the sour cream, and on and on the recipes came and I was careful not to put in anything too complicated or too expensive or too demanding. On the front page I had placed a photograph of my son that I had taken when he was about four years old. Standing at the sink on a chair wrapped in one of my aprons. I titled it 'happy days'.
Nostaglia rises in me like a wave of regret. What else is nostalgia but this? A missing of the past. I glance to the clouds north of this house about dinner time. They are stunning, vast, wild and abstract with tints of blue to bring about a false promise. More rain forecast. There is a profile in the clouds, a face, sketched into the blue, outlined in grey, cherubic lips, a giant frown in the forehead. I study it silently from the porch. In the oven apples are roasting along with floury potatoes and whole garlic cloves and pork chops with freshly picked sage from the surprise growth in the bog. The aroma is heavenly and yet I choose to eat the clouds. They taste like iced vodka, candyfloss at a carnival, exotic foam of roe and wild salmon, they taste of lost dreams and regret and a sweeet scent of promise. They are dashed with wild rosemary and black rain tinged with a sorbet of blackberries gathered diligently from the bog.
There is no recipe for standing in the porch in September. I have done it for many years and yet each time I do not recall the past times. It is like I stretch myself into regret and loss and dread and still I know that I cannot stop the clock, cannot scream halt, cannot feign the relief required. No, I strive on. I plough through the month, craving it to be the same, craving it to answer me. But it never does and so I relinquish my spoilt, anxious self and open my arms up to the frown in the clouds, the fake cherubic lips, the sense that whatever I wish, it can never be the same and only ten more recipes to go before I am done. Before the folder is complete