This morning, the heat, the sun, and the general mood of the city leaves me feeling twitchy and restless. I step into the kitchen and then sigh and step out again. My larder is stocked for autumn, full of things that require a fair amount of time on the stove in order to be edible. Two minutes later, I'm back, looking for distraction. I glance at the beans I had started soaking earlier, before I saw the weather report. I refresh the water and slide them into the refrigerator. Maybe tomorrow will be a bean day but not today.
I find a tiny apple in the back of the refrigerator, a perfect sweet/tart confection that's gone in two bites. A lovely treat but far from satisfying. I pace some more, picking up messes here, making a few more messes there, until a weary languor and a mediocre novel pins me to my couch for a few hours. There I steadily make my way through a packet of thin pretzels, dipping them in a tub of grocery store hummus. Only the sudden thought that I do not want this to be my last meal moves me off the couch and back into the kitchen. I find another apple, this time a stunning, deeply red Rome that feels crisp and heavy in my hand. I think of Snow White as a bite into it, the insides a perfect bright white, the red skin thin and taut. Delicious, but I still feel restless and tangled, all sixes and sevens.
The sun begins its decent, pouring through my westward-facing windows in a thick, golden stream, stretching over the day like caramel. It grows hotter and eventually I just give up. The day is almost over and the only thing I've done is kick up a lot of dust and fuss. There's nothing left to do but to surrender, to shrug my shoulders and let it go. Some days are just write-offs.
My street is eerily silent as I stand looking out the kitchen window, a third apple in my hand. I look down at it in the honey-light. It's nothing special, probably just a Gala from the grocery store. But then I take a bite and it fills my mouth with the most amazing, perfumed taste. A strong apple flavor, but a little spicy and sweet. Creamy flesh, sharp skin, it fills my mouth and suddenly, I feel restored, like I've come back to myself. A little flicker of happiness tickles my belly as the sun disappears and a cool evening rises to take its place.
The earth beneath my feet stays quiet, steady and firm. I smile and take another bite of the apple. For now.
From One Year Ago: Weekend meditation: From My Childhood
(Image: Dana Velden)