Where I live, solstice day was bleak and cold. It rained hard all day and by 2PM I had already lit a few candles and turned on the sparkly white Christmas lights. I stayed mostly in the kitchen where I had put a pot of beans on to cook even though I had no immediate plans for them. The decision was spontaneous, so the beans hadn't been soaked and required a good long time on the stove. I added a little onion, a few whole garlic gloves, a bay leaf, some peppercorns, and a few pinches of salt to the pot and set it on the back burner where it quietly bubbled away for the rest of the afternoon. What old, half-buried instinct was I obeying when I did this? The only thing I know is that my need to have something (anything) simmering on the stove was as great as the need for the actual beans themselves.