Oh, God! The sky is filled with the sun, and the sun is like music. The sky is full of music. Music comes streaming down these great beams. The wind touches the trees, shakes little jits of music. The shape of every flower is like a sound. My hands open like five petals.Isaiah – or was it Elisha? – was caught up into Heaven in a chariot of fire once. But when the weather is divine and I am free to work, such a journey is positively nothing.
Broad beans, blueberries, figs, licorice allsorts…
Beetroot, broccoli, fennel, artichokes, olives, mangoes, dark chocolate, baked potatoes, beetroot, leeks, fennel seeds, lentils, broccoli, chilli, figs, beetroot, broccoli, figs…
And I love cooks. And chickpeas. And cannellini beans. And what cooks do with them. And pasta. And spice. And gardeners who grow all this bounty.
And did I mention cheese?
Pink ones best of all.
Oh the scent of a dark maroon Mr Lincoln.
But pink ones are memories of my mother. Pink and full-blown and perhaps even a little torn at the edges of the petals – weathered by wind and rain, possibly. Dotted with dew. Love.
The turn of the key in the door. The smell of toast. Napping. Whole days in pyjamas. Dropping it all. Silence. Cups of tea. More cups of tea. My neighbour’s footsteps on his wooden boards. Almond-scented soap. Being busy. Getting it done. The achievement of a clean hand-basin. Bleach. Layers of remembering. Rosemary along the verandah. Birds bathing in bowls. Baking vegetables. Reading. Singing aloud. Dancing to the songs of the eighties when no-one can see. Clean laundry. Getting dirty. The familiar shower. The piles of books. The evidence, everywhere, of family and friends and lives shared…
I think this must be the first of many such posts. I’m only just warming up.
It’s still grey outside but random happiness fills the room, and I have not even begun to talk about my family, my friends, those who have read the book, those who subscribe to these posts, those who tell me stories at book events, those who gave me stories to tell. There is not a snapshot big enough to hold all of you, but my heart is trying to do you justice. I am specifically, not randomly, overjoyed when I think of those I love, who inspire me and spur me on, and remind me to do better. To be better. To strive to breathe each day in, and to live it well.
As I’ve been typing, I have received emails from two booksellers. Did I mention that bookstores make me happy? They also make me small, in the face of wonder and so many stories, and they lift me up and out, with all the promise they contain. Those who run them, the independent booksellers, make me glad and grateful. So much so, that I wrote a story about them. If you also love and are gladdened by booksellers, please have a look at the piece, over at the Meanjin website.
And don’t be shy about leaving a comment about your beloved bookstore. They deserve to be celebrated for the happiness they bring. Share the post around. Invite others to add their local store to it. We will only have them if we care for them.
Ain’t that the truth about all of life?
Gracias. Thank you.
A PS. If you have not read it, there is another bookstore post I wrote some time ago over at the Wheeler Centre.