When the going gets tough, the tough start crumbling curds and make homemade cottage cheese and faux ricotta. I have plenty of milk, buttermilk and yoghurt, so distracted myself from riots and efforts to help injured people needing bandages and a lot more than analgesics, by standing in the kitchen separating curds and whey. It is very easy, tangy and you can call it paneer, ricotta or just cottage cheese. Good in tomato salads.
Seriously, I know our police force out here are poorly trained and underpaid but it doesn’t take much thought to realise that rubber bullets used at close quarters constitutes lethal force.
In ironic contrast to the unrest, this is a lazy dreamy summer, with hedgerows spilling yellow and white roses, waterlilies blooming on farm dams, mountains like velvet in a heat haze. So unsettling to drive familiar roads and hear broken glass crunching under the wheels. Such a peaceful landscape, such conflict.
Physical taste, I think, like one’s sense of style, is fixed, foundational, irreducible. Science will someday map and analyze neural networks sufficiently to explain all this, but for now it remains a mystery to me. Taste is radical, it roots us in the world, to our sense of our presence in reality. It’s foundational but radiates something restless and migratory. It radiates imagination: once we’ve tasted something that strikes deeper than any other sensation into a darker, more obscure part of consciousness, we may spend the rest of our existence trying to replicate the experience, or hoping without hope that it will incidentally replicate itself.
And then having to revise a chapter I had hoped would be accepted for publication as it stood. Revision is the grindstone of writing, ugh. And elsewhere my Nanowrimo story foundering at 35 000 words, too many interesting digressions and minor characters who take over if given half a chance.
Starting over, wiping spilled milk on a kitchen counter, watching a yellowed masked weaver hunting for seeds on the grass and thinking of Nancy Schaffer’s poem:
Because We Spill Not Only Milk
Because we spill not only milk
Knocking it over with an elbow
When we reach to wipe a small face
But also spill seed on soil we thought was fertile but isn’t,
And also spill whole lives, and only later see in fading light
How much is gone and we hadn’t intended it
Because we tear not only cloth
Thinking to find a true edge and instead making only a hole
But also tear friendships when we grow
And whole mountainsides because we are so many
And we want to live right where black oaks lived,
Once very quietly and still
Because we forget not only what we are doing in the kitchen
And have to go back to the room we were in before,
Remember why it was we left
But also forget entire lexicons of joy
And how we lost ourselves for hours
Yet all that time were clearly found and held
And also forget the hungry not at our table
Because we weep not only at jade plants caught in freeze
And precious papers left in rain
But also at legs that no longer walk
Or never did, although from the outside they look like most others
And also weep at words said once as though
They might be rearranged but which
Once loose, refuse to return and we are helpless
Because we are imperfect and love so
Deeply we will never have enough days,
We need the gift of starting over, beginning
Again: just this constant good, this