The big fat harvest moon this week was like a benign visitor reminding us of the passage of time, the autumn gathering-in. But the weather gave a contrary message, with warm summery winds and just the odd sprinkle of rain.
It was so enticing out last night that around 9.30 I felt I just had to get out into the night air and moonlight. It was hot and humid. In just a tank top and light pants I was comfortable and exhilatatedly happy on my bicycle whizzing along dark streets in the soft night air, bathed in that air, blessed-feeling. The moon-shadows were sharp against the pale glow of moonlight. I stopped in at Black Hoof for a treat - this time a drink they call Figgy Caipirinha, a spectacular combo made of Cacchaca muddled with a little fig and lots of lime - had pleasant chats with people at the bar, and savoured the drink, then came out an hour later to find the moon mostly hidden behind wildly moving stripes of cloud, a sharp wind, aggressive and chilly, and all balminess vanished. Brrr!! I wound a long cotton scarf round and round my neck, slid on a cardigan, and then pedalled home lickety-split. Autumn has arrived!
Speaking of the passage of time: Earlier in the week I had an evening with three women whom I have seen occasionally one on one in the last fifteen years, but never all of us together at the same time (we now don't all live in the same city). Before, long ago when I was practising law, we used to meet very couple of weeks to talk frankly and as honestly as we could about our lives and concerns. You could call it group therapy, but really it was a form of clear-eyed support. We had not started as bosom buddies; it was a more formal almost contractual arrangement, this meeting. I came to treasure it in many way. It was so valuable for me, and I am sure for each of us. It gave me a chance I think to acknowledge events of the past and integrate them with confidence into what I was doing and feeling.
The kind of intimacy that we developed, the trust we had so that we could admit painful doubts and get advice about difficulties we were having or anticipated having, is a rare thing. We are mostly fairly alone with some of our doubts and fears. We may have a spouse/partner to whom we can talk about our deepest concerns, but often we hesitate to air them with the person we are seeing every day. Somehow talking about them in a separate place means we aren't crowded by them, and we don't have to fear the other person raising them or reminding us of our weaknesses when we don't want to be reminded!!
I guess some people get advice and some version of counselling from their priest or imam or rabbi or... And many people see a therapist regularly, which can be such a valuable interaction.
But the specialness of building relationship with non-professionals, I guess you could say of a DIY approach to the problems of life and living, is a wonderful thing. I feel lucky to have been included in this process long ago. And I hope others are finding friends that they can trust and lean on when things get tough or scary or puzzling.
It seems to me that aloneness, feeling that you are alone with your worries, is a tiring and scary thing. But finding friends who are straight-shooters, honest and generous, is a matter of luck as well as of work and time. Intimacy and trust need to be built brick by brick, so not only do you need to find the right person or people, but then you have to put in the time.
As life gets fragmented into email messages and texting and cel phone accessibilty, maybe that kind of sustained commitment becomes more difficult? I don't know.
And on matters food: Dawn made a huge batch of damson jam this week and had some for sale at the Brickworks market today. Yum, my favorite (well, tied with tart Seville orange marmalade); that's why there's a recipe for both in HomeBaking. How can there be bread recipes without the instructions for the jams of my childhood? I found beautiful potatoes at the market, apples, pears, the end of the tomatoes... and the cold wind came howling through the crowds of shoppers, but warmed by hot chocolate and other treats, no-one seemed in the least fussed.
I got hit by the wind riding back, too. It caught the pack on my back and made me fight my way along in several gusty exposed stretches. Home is such an oasis after a buffeted struggling time out on a bicycle. I am so grateful to have a door to walk through and a space to live and cook in peacefully.
Next up on the food front are some Burmese pork dishes, and several soups from Burma. They're all good warming choices as the weather gets colder...