Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chicken Soup in a French Press

My Popop needed chicken soup this week, but homemade chicken soup takes a day: four to eight hours for the stock, plus time to cook new vegetables into a soup... and in that time, his chemo doctor took him off all solid food, at least for the time being.

It's amazing what will bring one back to writing.  It wasn't the comically wonderful time one of my students started yelling in class because he was suddenly overwhelmed by the Ravens loss the night before; it wasn't when I had a desk shoved at me in class because the student was afraid of what I'd say to his parent at back to school night.  It wasn't when I finished nine fabric flowers in a week (so proud) or when I canned two pecks of peaches this summer.  It was sitting in a good friend's quiet house, feeling open and soft after a long week of playing defense way too hard.

I'm sorry I've been away.

This week, I made homemade chicken soup and put it through a french press so my Popop could eat it, and in return, he taught me all about mutual funds, stocks, and something called recapitalization (which I don't completely understand).  My boyfriend made me dinner, and I ate kale for breakfast, with no bacon.  I read a long article of excerpts from the writings of Thomas Kelly, all of which told me to use pain to open spaces of quiet softness on the inside.  Thank you, Quaker f(F)riends.

What have I learned?  Only what I knew already, and must learn always one time more than I forget it: defense is harder than an offense of kindness, anger is easy only at first, sustainable feelings are calm ones.