Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Buried Treasure and Other Random Ramblings

 Digging through the freezer a while back in search of something else, I came upon a bulky, foil-wrapped package. Hmm, I thought, what's this? Aha! Zucchini bread! What a lucky squirrel I am. After all, how many squirrels ever find, or even remember, where they buried their treasures? It sat on the counter, defrosting, overnight. We had it with coffee next morning, luscious, moist, dense with nuts, plump with raisins. That's what I call comfort. And who's not looking for a little comfort in these recent crazy days? My note to self said I'd made it the day before I'd flown out west in early October. Slowly it came back to me. Wanting to leave nothing that could rot in the fridge in my absence (the OC would eat rocks before it would occur to him to cook a vegetable) I'd found a couple zucchini in the vegetable drawer. I could have tossed them on the compost pile (the squirrels would have been delighted!) But, they were still good so, being a frugal soul, I made zucchini bread. And stashed it in the freezer. And flew west the next day. And forgot all about it, in the manner of squirrels everywhere. I know who plants the seeds of all those little oak saplings that keep popping up around here.

It's not only a hunger for comfort food we're feeling this year, but a hunger for things the corona virus has snatched from us. Being human, we never seem to appreciate what we've got 'til it's gone. (Sounds familiar -  sixties song? So many mindless lyrics permanently etched on my brain.) Youth, for instance. I look at pictures from decades ago and think - I was gorgeous! I didn't think so at the time, and was told that, though not beautiful, I had 'a nice' face. Yeah. Thanks for that. Damn with faint praise. And by gorgeous I don't mean Vanessa Redgrave or Ingrid Bergman gorgeous. But - the shiny hair, the smooth skin, the muscle tone, no baggy eyes, no nasty lines, no crowsfeet, no furrowed brow, boundless energy - so yes, gorgeous! At the time I thought the hips too big, the eyes too small, the eyebrows too scant, the freckles too plentiful. A little peek into the future and I'd have been slobbering in gratitude! With age comes, if not beauty, at least a small measure of wisdom. Nowadays I'll take 'nice' over 'beautiful.' Physical beauty has a shelf life, nice doesn't.

 How shallow I was, rejecting any poor sot who didn't meet my height, IQ or handsomeness requirements. As it happened, I got lucky, found someone who, though just about qualifying on the height requirement, met all the others with knobs on and, best of all, could always make me laugh. Intelligence, I believe, is a prerequisite for humor. It makes it easier to spot the absurdities of life, one of which we're living in at present. 

I know it's a serious problem. But every time we turn around the experts are telling us something different, usually contradicting the last piece of 'expert' advice. I wear a mask out in public though I think I need a defogging device to keep my glasses from clouding up and making me bump into somebody, thereby breaking the social distancing rule and incurring the wrath of fellow grocery shoppers. Alternately, here's an idea for some enterprising inventor - windshield wipers for glasses. Off you go. Let me know when they're available.

Since we first crawled out from our caves, humans have been dying. Nobody's exempt. Not even the rich and powerful. Every last one of us has an expiration date. Along with taxes, it's one of life's guarantees. We'll all die of something. With people losing their jobs, and businesses closing left and right, the possibility of starvation being what does one in is becoming very real. Not to mention the isolation, loneliness, mental illness and depression some are suffering as a result of (pardon my language) this wildly politicised pandemic sh_tshow.)

We talk regularly with friends and family, those who want to talk, and do our best to keep spirits from nosediving into the doldrums. We're blessed with a garden large enough to get lost in, if we so desire; surrounded by beautiful pine trees, home to all kinds of birds (most recently, to our delight, great horned owls) and the ever present gift of sunshine. It reminds me of a favourite quote "You are nearest to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth."

And when it rains, as it frequently does, we read, sew, practice yoga and, like the rest of the world, bake sourdough bread. And when we wake up next morning we do it all again, And again, and again. It could be so much worse, and is, for many people, so I am certainly not complaining. I think we (the human race) were in dire need of a siesta, a chance to slow down, room to breathe and reflect on what really matters.  And so the universe provided. It remains to be seen what we learn from it.

I have no more zucchini, but I do have cranberries, walnuts and raisins. I think, while the world is waiting for what comes next, I'll go make me some cranberry bread.