Oh, these days, pink clouds of petals settling in the new grass, are so inspiring.
So, why do I feel so blue?
The troubles I had on the Laundry Line these last few weeks put in to perspective just how dearly I hold the honor of writing here and more importantly, the gift you give me in taking in these posts. They are the pink petals sifting in to the newly greening grass of your life this spring.
Right at this moment, my house is quiet. The pot of beans that simmered and scented my studio all afternoon has been eaten, leftovers stowed for a friend in need of dinner tomorrow. My daughter is off rehearsing for her class play. My son is at the gym, doing whatever he can do without the complete use of one of his legs. That broken leg is slowly mending. My husband is out fetching butter and fruit. Quiet.
No side walk repair going on. No phone calls about campaigns or repair contracts from Sears.
Just me. And the cool breeze holds expectancy for the moon, who’s rising we have kept close watch on all weekend.
I am in need of a dose of forgiveness. Forgiving recipes for starters.
I bake beans every Monday now, due in thanks to my friend Janet, who posted this recipe so I will never lose track of it. Last week’s pot of beans was rendered in to soup because the flame went out about 2 hours too early and they never thickened up. The soup went well with the cornbread that I planned to make. I did over-bake it though because of a tiny issue with time. I had made the cornbread from Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Pantry. I was all motivated to post about how good it was, until I nearly burned it and it looked like this.
While I was mixing it up I got distracted and left out the melted butter until I’d slid the batter in to the pan. The recipe however, was forgiving enough to accept the butter late. The cornbread could barely withstand the heat though, but fair enough, as I’d put it through so much already. That morning, I had discovered my downstairs freezer in it’s own soupy state and had a profusion of strawberries to deal with, hence the cornbread, which is nice under a spoonful of red juicy berries stewed with freshly picked rhubarb and a touch of sugar.
It was an evening that, without the steep and pure love of my husband who sees so much of the good in me, no matter what I am serving, including firm cornbread and soupy beans, I could have crisped and dried like that bread. Instead, the cornbread, soup and I were salvaged in the big, round bowl of his love.
I need this kind of forgiveness, the kind that let’s me arrive at your door muddy, late and bearing no gifts in hand.
Why am I revisiting that soggy Monday at all? Wouldn’t I just like to sweep it under the rug and be done with it? Forgiveness is what I am about. And gratitude. I am grateful for forgiving recipes and husbands.
Mama says there’ll be days like this. So, I wade through the mud. I watch my daughter dance around the May Pole at her school’s May Day celebration wearing a hand-me-down prom dress my sister gave her when she was three. I never imagined my girl wearing that dress until this day. Her school turns out for May Day, we all have picnics and wear garlands of flowers and sing “Hi, Ho, Jolly Rumble Oh”. Forgiveness weaves around the May Pole when we are asked to hold a certain quality for the children dancing the ribbons round the tall wooden pole. Forgiveness for all future missteps and over baked corn bread.
When I make mistakes, I suffer the consequences. When my children make mistakes, as they did last week when they wrote in the fresh cement of the new sidewalks across the street from our house, I have to find room to forgive them and let them suffer the consequences. It is so hard for me, as a mother, to not suffer with them. The marks they made it the wet cement are far bigger and bolder than I would have ever hazarded. My son included his last initial! What a flagrant expression of self-confidence. Does my anger flair because I would never, ever own such disrespect of someone else’s work, even if it is sort of a community act, as he tried to justify it. Or because their bold claims of presence on this street, in this year, are way grander than I would make? When my kids made a formal apology to the construction crew, the men kindly dismissed the writing as no big deal. They were off the hook, but I am still thinking about it.
In this stew of forgiveness is a new found confidence of my own.
In April, I returned to the stage after a 17-year absence.
I had more fun than I have ever had acting in a play.
Partly because, like my children I suppose, I was without the artifice of who I am supposed to be. I boldly stepped out onstage in my garden boots and black dress, full of everything I am today. I am a woman, a mother, an artist and many other things including a theatre artist.
I hope for nothing less for my children, that they too would step in to their lives unfiltered by fear or small living.
Before this post becomes too unwieldy, I will leave you with the pink petals still blowing through the cool air, streaking across my winter woolies hanging on the laundry line, hopefully headed for the storage bin of out-of-season clothes.
As you stir the soup of you today, may the chunks of confidence floating around in there surprise you. Didn’t know you had them, did you?
I didn’t know I had some either. But, upon locating this confidence, I will go in search of more, because an unalloyed sense of my self, integrated and all under the roof of me is what I am after here.
Thank you for returning to the Laundry Line,