I couldn't help but feel a little sad as I stood in the back porch and watched H at the end of the garden as he picked the wild mint for dinner. I mean there is something about seeing a man stooped over a patch of wild mint with a dog beside him that makes me wistful. I am sure Bach didn't help either. The music. The way it brings all the sadness and joy and lilts and nuances of life into it and transforms what I see into something more precious. More meaningful. Small dog rooting around in the rock wall, looking for life in the long grass. The man picking the mint with care. The promise of a good meal. The rain. Soft yet constant. Me in the porch. Watching. Thinking it all through.
Lamb chops. A treat. Fed on a Connemara mountain top with wild heather and herbs. Potatoes tossed in olive oil and seasalt and skewered, launched into a hot oven to bake golden and brown and crispy. Sprouting broccoli steamed in a bamboo steamer, laid out on parchment, holes pricked randomly in the paper to allow the steam to invade the green. Five minutes max. No more, no less. Oh and my mother's mint sauce. Fresh mint from the garden, brown sugar, hot water to dissolve the sugar, plain ordinary white vinegar and then the mint, lashings of mint to meld and spread its divine scent throughout the meal. We vie for the sauce. Spooning it onto the meat and the potatoes, hot and steaming with goodness. We will have mint from here to September. Mint cleanses. Soul and body.
My son sends me emails. How much he likes where he finds himself to be. How the weather is glorious. How it can be hot in July and August. How much he thinks I might like it in Charleston. I read with care. Each word accounted for. I stop and imagine where he is but I cannot. I cannot see the place he is in, even if I google it, read about it. I am here. Watching from afar. I only think that my life is as good as any other place now. I dig my own soil. Plant my own words, the seeds I need to grow. Dig out the recipes from the past. The mint sauce for example. The day my mother said to me, do you have a pen? I do, I said. Write this down, she said to me. And I did. I am glad I did. I am glad I gathered up something precious that she had to give to me and now, now, well now, it is here still, on a page of paper, stained with splotches of days and age, still giving me something even time cannot erase.