I had some loose change rattling around in my pocket this afternoon and precious little else. My fiscal landscape changed dramatically a couple of weeks ago–not by way of a little hiccup, but a big, loud, stinky belch. (It did not even have the decency to cover its gaping mouth.) I realized my cupboard was nearly bare and I had no plan for tonight’s dinner. So I did what any sensible poor person would do and stopped at this beautiful farmstand on my way home from work. No store-bought lettuce for me tonight, no sir. Best to get it while you can, to my way of thinking; before you know it we’ll be dealing with ice and snow and making our peace with anemic-looking winter tomatoes.
I am a Halloween curmudgeon; to me it’s just an excuse for people who know better to behave badly. I am okay with little kids getting excited about the candy and jack-o-lanterns, but that’s where my enthusiasm ends. Still, who can resist the sight of all those cheerful pumpkins and squash and gourds?
Lately I’ve been thinking about bad behavior in the context of Rosh Hashanah and my annual reading of Gershon’s Monster. I love the idea of self-examination, atonement, and redemption. For the last couple of years I have had plenty of time to reflect on the notion of bad behavior in varied contexts. When we are children–if we are lucky–we have adults in our lives who help us walk the straight and narrow, and let us know when we are straying from it. When we do there are consequences, and we hopefully learn from them. The same is true when we learn to take a pencil in hand and write. We all need editing when we are starting out, but also continued editing as we move forward.
Who edits us once we’ve struck out on our own, though, when we desperately need it? This is a question that has bothered me for a while now. I would like to think there are natural consequences for transgressions, for being inconsiderate, for hurting others. I remain unconvinced on this point. I think a more likely scenario is surrounding ourselves with people we know will affirm our bad behavior so we can go right on behaving badly. (See Gershon, above.) Poor editing, if you ask me.
A Vermont farmstand on a sunny fall afternoon is as good a place as any to contemplate life’s big questions. As I said, best to get this bounty while you can. I found that the tough leaves of this beautiful escarole stood in stark contrast to the tender baby arugula I usually buy boxed at the supermarket. What a treat. A couple of late season tomatoes and a few Empire apples finished my sunny afternoon outing.
Dinner was soup I made from scratch a couple of nights ago the way my Handsome Chef Boyfriend does it, with found ingredients. (He once told me his favorite time to cook is when there is almost nothing left in the pantry.) Some would call it stone soup; I call it kitchen sink soup. It is wicked good, with salad from the farm and iced tea, and soon I’ll finish with a bite of dark chocolate.
And then I’ll think some more about editing.