Saying Goodbye to a One-Butt Kitchen

Weekend Meditation

I am moving again this week and about to inhabit and hopefully settle into my fourth kitchen in twelve months. So, you know ... chaos and disruption, excitement and anxiety, cardboard boxes and dust bunnies. These weekend meditations tend to be about my immediate experience, and there's probably a rose of wisdom I can pull from all this rubble, but frankly I'm just not up to it this time around. (Plus you can revisit all my other posts about moving over this past year.) But maybe one lesson that has really come to life this time around (OK, here I go again!) is not to rush through the goodbye stage.When I'm in transition, at that crazy trapeze moment about to let go of one thing and go into freefall until (hopefully!) the next thing is there to grab, I tend to get a little anxious. Maybe even very anxious. And when I get anxious, I want to rush the current circumstances along, to get through the freefall stage in order to be in the comforting grasp of the next thing. Which means I hurry goodbyes, sprinting through the last moments of my old life with worried eyes peering into the future searching for something more secure. (Which of course I can't see.)

In my case, I'm not talking about people since my move is simply one mile south from Berkeley into Oakland. I'm talking more about location and the specific way that I am influenced and molded by my immediate physical space.This morning was cold and foggy so I took my cup of tea and leaned against the one counter in my very tiny kitchen, one quarter of which is occupied by an old Wedgewood stove. It's a lovely space but as I mentioned, very small. So small that it's been christened "One-Butt Kitchen" by my friends since there is very little room for more than one person to cook.

Whenever I'm in this kitchen, I'm always moving, bustling about with a goal firmly in mind and an activity to match it: cooking, prepping, cleaning, putting away dishes and groceries. I've never just lingered here. So I did that for a bit and I after a while realized I was saying goodbye and thank you and also appreciating all the wonderful things that my One-Butt kitchen offered over these past several months. That gorgeous stove, yes, and also the convenience of being able to pivot on one heel from sink to counter to stovetop; that extra half step to reach the refrigerator door. Putting dishes away in the cupboard is a simple reach to the right, checking the toaster oven a small step to the left.

And many delicious meals, both solo and in good company, and a several beautifully lit photographs, some that ended up illustrating this very column. I came here seeking refuge and this tiny space did not hold back. It welcomed me in, warmed me up and gave me just what I needed for exactly as long as I needed it.

So instead of fretting about how I was going to manage the 10,000 details ahead of me this week, instead of making lists and packing boxes, I poured another cup of tea and (without moving my feet) reached for the flour canister in the cupboard and a few eggs and a stick of butter from the refrigerator, and turned on the old Wedgewood one last time. I could feel a cake coming on, maybe just a single layer lemon cake with a honey glaze and a sprinkle of lemon thyme on top. I may be going, but I'm not gone yet.

Related: Weekend Meditation: Discoveries in a Borrowed Kitchen (the post I wrote when I moved in last August)

(Image: Dana Velden)

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