Into another week, into the gathering autumn. Getting up this morning, making a mug of tea to take back to bed, letting my dogs out into the dewy garden and noting it was still dark at 6am. A few pages of the writer Thomas Merton, an old favourite to read during the season of Lent or at any other time. Then meditation, my lower back aching, Merton echoing inside me, the birds waking out in the garden with tiny chippy cries, myself staying in the present, in the allness of here and now.
Sitting with a friend last night watching a rerun of The King’s Speech, Colin Firth so grim and troubled, her mentioning a mutual acquaintance and saying as a careless aside,’But she’s one of those recovering alcoholics, you know, they never come right, just find other addictions or ways to act out.’ My friend’s face flushing when I reminded her I was also one of those. Who knows where recovery begins or ends? We none of us find much perfection in the short span of our lives and the woundedness does go on for so much longer than we thought it would…
One of those meatless weeks approaching and I might adapt this Moroccan Mint Roasted Vegetables recipe from 102 Cookbooks. We get all kinds of authentic North African spices here, but this recipe is simple and I have a garden bouncing with fresh spearmint so I might use that as well as the dried mint. Butternut instead of radishes, and skinny green beans, broccoli and zucchini (we call them courgettes) added once the potato and cauliflower are doing well in the oven. Light enough for summer while signalling autumn.
Autumnal sadness at moments, delicate as heartbreak healing, but persistent. Turtle doves lingering in the olive trees.
Originally from Tehran, the poet Mimi Khalvati:
Ghazal: It’s Heartache
When you wake to jitters every day, it’s heartache.
Ignore it, explore it, either way it’s heartache.
Youth’s a map you can never refold,
from Yokohama to Hudson Bay, it’s heartache.
Follow the piper, lost on the road,
whistle the tune that led him astray: it’s heartache.
Stop at the roadside, name each flower,
the loveliness that will always stay: it’s heartache.
Why do nightingales sing in the dark?
Ask the radif, it will only say ‘it’s heartache’.
Let khalvati, ‘a quiet retreat’,
close my ghazal and heal as it may its heartache.