January 22nd, 2007


Research Redux

My very astute husband discovered this weekend, while poring through some of my research material for that budding work-in-progress, that the acknowledged expert in the field LIVES IN AUSTIN, TEXAS, as do we. Is that lovely serendipity, or what? 

Now I just need to load up on enough knowledge and courage to give him a buzz.

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Empty Baskets

This weekend we received a letter from our friends at Tecolote Farm. (For years now, we’ve been grateful recipients of their organic and imaginative vegetable baskets, delivered all spring and summer to our front stoop.) I imagined it would be their annual call-to-action, with details on this year’s pricing and delivery schedule, but instead I read that Katie and David and their team are taking a sabbatical, for the sake of themselves and their land.
Needless to say, I’m bereft. It’s because of Tecolote that we understand the beauty of eating locally and within season; that I learned to cook mustard greens; that our daughters love arugula and beets. When it’s basket season, we step out of our rut and appreciate the surprises on our table each week. We spend less time at the grocery store. We make gazpacho. I like to think we glow a bit. This spring, we’re going to have to go it alone – hit the farmers’ markets and try to recreate the bounty for ourselves. We’ll make do, of course, but Tecolote will be sorely missed.
It got me to thinking, though, about letting ground lie fallow, about recovery, about that little pause in between inhale and exhale when things go completely still.
I think about how my family delights in those occasional Sunday mornings or Wednesday afternoons when things stop spinning – no birthday parties, no home repairs, no take-home work. We come together restfully, reflect on the day or the week, play cards, curl up on the couch and hum. 

And teaching – those semester breaks that always seem to arrive the day before I’ve been completely wrung out of energy and inspiration. 

And writing – I am not a steady-as-a-clock artist, writing for four-hours-every-morning-of-my-life-so-help-me-god. There are months when I’m awash with ideas, and driven – absolutely driven – to get them down in ink. Other times, I chastise myself for being less than attentive to my work.
But in my own defense (and yours, if you can relate), I think there are periods of our lives as people or parents, writers or wives, when we are depleted and stuck in cycles of less-than-optimal productivity. My own inclination is to try to pick up the pace when I feel like that, kick it in gear, snap out of it. I wonder what would happen if I did the opposite.
Katie and David say that their soil needs nourishment and their irrigation lines need repair. That just sings to me as I move through this first month of the new year. Today I am healthy and energized with a new project in hand. Tomorrow or next week or someday in March, things will be different. To sustain myself now and then, I need good sleep, long runs and vitamins. But I also need to sometimes lay fallow, quiet, still. 

We all do.