I’ve got the whole morning free, so I wander into the kitchen to see what I can find to make for lunch. I don’t want to run out to the market, or leave the house even. My mood is quiet and connected to home. There’s a feeling of intimacy, a heart-thread to follow that needs to stay incubated in the familiar. Everything I need is here.
I decide to make soup, something brothy that requires a lot of chopping. There are onions and garlic on the counter, of course. The vegetable bin reveals a handful of carrots, a bunch of just-about-to-wilt parsley and, inexplicably, a single baby turnip with its leaves still attached. I find a few potatoes in the cupboard, and peas and chicken stock in the freezer. Vegetable soup it is, then. The other day I gave into the urge to buy a pot of planted thyme at the grocery store; its herby scented tendrils quiver as I brush by them. So maybe vegetable soup with some herb dumplings or a pistou made with the parsley and thyme instead of basil.
Soon I’m chopping away in the silence of my kitchen. No music or radio or even another lovely human being to interrupt me. This is a golden time, a rare chance to just take care of whatever is in front of me, without an overarching ambition or agenda. Just food and cooking and my sock-clad feet beneath me.
A soothing sense of timelessness overtakes me. The motions of cooking cease to be an activity and become instead a place that I’ve gone to. I have nowhere else to go, and no one else to be, but this person, right here. It matters little what I call myself in these moments: a cook, a woman, a writer are all true but somehow extra and unnecessary. There’s a sort of grace in this, a nourishment that goes beyond any superficial desires and ideas. It touches, and satisfies, a deeper hunger for expression and connection and the simple pleasure of working with my body.
And in the end, of course, there’s the soup, the incredibly practical result of having cooking as your passion. First you get to play and then, you get to eat! The soup is good and very satisfying. Probably it will be a little better tomorrow, as it often is with soups. And so the day continues. The timelessness is no longer being directly experienced but still, it echos and supports me as I move out from inclosure and intimacy and into the wondrous, chaotic mess of the bright world.
I hope you find an opportunity to step out of doing and into being and becoming, into the timelessness of your activity. Don’t search for it outside of yourself, or in things or special arrangements or identities. Just open your eyes and work with whatever you happen to find at hand. Everything you need is here.
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I hope you enjoyed this encore Weekend Meditation, originally posted on February 13, 2011. I will be posting these vintage posts every Sunday (with the occasional new post, if I can manage!) for the next several months while I focus on writing my first book.