Weekend Meditation: Nothing Special in a Midsummer's Kitchen

There is a boundary to looking,
And the world that is looked at so deeply
wants to flourish in love.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

It's a cool, midsummer's evening and I'm in my kitchen making pasta salad for the weekend's festivities. It's a nothing special pasta salad, the kind of thing I can throw together without thinking too much. So I leave my hands to work away and immediately my attention is snagged by the setting sun, which seems to have stopped in the sky, spilling honey in through the windows. This inspires me to put on some old Billy and Lester and open the back door, letting in a whispered breeze and the sound of the evening train off in the distance.

My feet are cool on the bamboo floor but the rest of my body is a little damp from the efforts of cooking and giving the boiling pot of pasta a stir and a few little dance move embellishments that take me from the stove to the sink and back again. There are no tomatoes yet, or peppers, but I slice up thumb-sized baby zucchini for crunch and gently tear nasturtium flowers for color and toss them in to a bowl. Nearby, an open package of crumbled feta releases a briny funk. I snatch a piece, my mouth filling with pungent saltiness and I dance on tiptoe for a few seconds in response to the intensity.

On my chopping board there's chervil and basil, chives and parsley and they release a scent that goes straight to my head, making me a little giddy. Or maybe it's the whole picture, this simple moment of being alive and able and in the company of such fine inspiration. Nothing special, really, just cooking and sunshine and noticing the details. Nothing special, but absolutely not to be missed.

Related: Weekend Meditation: Interdependency

(Image: Dana Velden)

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Weekend Meditation

Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.