I missed Kathleen's birthday because we were down in Roseland so I went to the nursery and bought a pretty little tea olive to take her. Everyone needs a Tea Olive. I wandered around the nursery in a dreamlike state of lusting and craving. Flowers and trees and bushes and herbs and the pots. Oh, the pots! The shiny turquoise and blue ones, the terra cotta ones. The tiny pots only big enough for a cactus, the huge ones, big enough to hide both Owen and Gibson. It occurs to me that I need to recognize that on my list of favorite things are pots like these. They go right up there with my other womb-like favorite things: baskets, bowls, purses. Things which hold things. I did not buy any of the pots but I bought some pansies, some violas to put in here and there. And a Bleeding Hearts of my own.
I went to the grocery store to buy fresh pineapple and brown sugar and butter and almond extract. I came home and made two pineapple upside-down cakes. One big one to take to Kathleen and her honey, one small one to keep. Here is what they looked like, right out of the oven, still in their skillets.
I love to make pineapple upside-down cakes. I remember the first one I ever made. I was stoned and had fierce munchies and was living in an apartment in Denver. I had no real idea how to do it, no recipe to follow, but the spirit of some benevolent cooking goddess must have guided my hands because I made one and it was so damn good. My roommate said, "How'd you do this?"
"I have no idea," I said, as shocked as she at how it had turned out.
I still have the skillet I made that first cake in. I did not use it today, but it has held many, many others in the ensuing forty-plus years.
Gosh. I guess I should add iron skillets to my list. Another beautiful thing which holds other beautiful things.
Here is what the big cake looked like after I had flipped it over and put a few violas on top.
My whole house still smells like heaven.
I took the Tea Olive and the cake to Kathleen's and we sat for awhile in the beautiful patio area that her husband has built her. There is a tiny pond and a fountain, an enclosing two walls of fence which is made out of some of the most beautiful rough-cut boards I've ever seen. He's hung pretty things on the fence and there are plants around the tiny pond and there is the view of the chickens beyond. Their whole house is the most welcoming and homey thing you can imagine. Kathleen has made new cushion coverings for some of her wicker furniture. It is a home which speaks of love and life and they have done it almost all by themselves. The chickens and the ducks were getting ready to roost and Bug let me help him feed the fish in the big, real pond. I threw dog food out to them and they raised up to eat it and it looked like raindrops in reverse as they did, circles arising as if by magic on the surface of the water, spreading out in beautiful patterns.
I felt peaceful and at home, being there. Kathleen looks beautiful and I am in awe of the way she is living her life. So many gifts she has given me. So many gifts she continues to give.
I drove home and now I'm here, a hunting widow again. I remember when I used to rail and fret and bitch and moan about all this hunting. How hurt I used to be that this man focused so much of his time and attention on that activity instead of...me.
I am glad that I'm over that. I'm glad that I've come to the realization that he has to do this and that it has nothing to do with me. I'm glad that I now know that I love him so much that it would be a cruelty to try and change him and why would I really want to? As Lyle Lovett said once, "If I were the man that you wanted, I would not be the man that I am."
I want the man that he is. I believe this is one of the best things about long love. You reach a place of acceptance and peace with things.
Talk to me around Thanksgiving when he's been to Georgia a few more times and up to Canada for ten days to hunt. We shall see how accepting I am at that point.
I am not perfect, trust me. In fact, I am so far from perfect that I can't even tell you in what direction perfection lies. But, one does learn a thing or two over the years. The sharp edges do get worn away to a gentler surface. One does begin to understand that there are things worth getting riled about and things that are hardly worth more than a little bitching here and there.
Besides, he puts up with shit of mine that he would definitely rather not. And has been all these years. And that is another reason to love him.
And I have Maurice, my by-now familiar. She stays close but not too close, her presence a comfort but not a burden.
I have chickens at roost, all thirteen of them safe and dozy. I went out and closed them up and stroked a few. They are so soft.
"Good night, my little loves," I said. I am a fool for my chickens. Another gift that Kathleen gave me- chickens.
Night is falling.
Rice is cooking, I have pansies to plant, Hank to help move on Saturday and then a movie date with a girlfriend to see St. Vincent's. On Sunday there will be a birthday party for Waylon.
My husband is in a deer stand in Georgia.
He'll be home on Sunday.
I'll probably survive.